ST. PAUL, MN – The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) today released guidance banning graduation ceremonies statewide, regardless of class size or space available for the ceremony. House Republican Education Leads Representative Ron Kresha, R-Little Falls, and Representative Sondra Erickson, R-Princeton, released the following statement regarding the announcement.
“It is incredibly disappointing that the administration took this unilateral action with no warning and no flexibility for schools that are able to hold their ceremonies safely,” said Erickson. “This one-size-hurts-all approach completely ignores the thoughtful deliberations and plans already in place with local school leaders. Legislators and school districts have submitted plans to MDE, but instead of a transparent dialogue, we get a top-down approach that diminishes this important milestone for thousands of Minnesota graduates and their families.”
According to current executive orders, the Governor’s peacetime emergency powers expire on May 13, and the Stay at Home order ends at midnight on May 17. MDE’s guidance is in direct conflict with current information, and gives the impression that the administration is unwilling to give up unilateral decision-making power.
“Minnesota is a vast state with numerous communities and school leaders who understand how to protect their students and parents better than MDE,” added Kresha. “Furthermore, we don’t need slick communication graphics, we need open dialogue and collaboration so we can leverage all of the possibilities and good ideas. For example, a couple communities are planning on using their drive-in movie theater as a venue and smaller schools have plenty of spacing in their football fields.
“And lastly, let the kids throw their graduation caps! We need to celebrate the future. We urge MDE to rescind these guidelines and talk to local school officials. It is time we all shoulder the work of decision making and planning for reopening our state.”