A high school in Woodland California is at the center of a controversy involving the graduation of a student with cancer.

The facts are fairly straightforward. 18 year old Lenna Elizalde is a senior at Woodland High School and has been fighting cancer for the last six months. She has undergone two surgeries along with extensive chemotherapy since her diagnosis.

This has caused her to miss a number of classes during her hospital stays. Most teachers understood the problem and gave her extra credit projects and allowed her make up missed tests. But one teacher would not do so and as a result she is one English class credit short of graduation.

This means she will have to take the class over the summer, which is fairly standard procedure for people who are behind on their credits. However given the unusual circumstances it has been suggested that she be allowed to participate in the graduation ceremonies and be given recognition for her battle with cancer.

However the school district has refused to bend the rules, saying that if she does not have the credits she can’t graduate in any way.

Now anyone who knows me is aware that I am pretty much a stickler for the rules, but there are some times when humanity needs to take a front seat. Nobody is asking for her to be excused from taking the class, and they are not asking that she be given a diploma before she earns it. All they are saying is that under the circumstances she ought to be given the right to participate in the ceremonies.

I think she has more than earned the right, and can only hope the public outcry will result in a change in plans.

PATRICK EDABURN, Assistant Editor
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Copyright 2008 The Moderate Voice
  • http://www.billingsgazette.net/articles/2008/05/26/news/local/22-laurel.txt

    This happened elsewhere but the School District changed their minds and not only let the student sit with her friends, but also let her walk across the stage. (Though she is not graduating.)

  • pacatrue

    This sounds right to me as well. She does not truly graduate until she finishes her summer course, but she can walk across the stage with her other friends to be allowed to share in the ceremony.

  • unclejoe40

    the lausd is a mess…let her sit with the graduating class

  • runasim

    There is the letter of a law and the intent of a law.
    Common sense can usally bridge the gap, and common sense says let her join the ceremony. She can get the diploma when it’s earned.

  • StockBoySF

    Yeah, let her celebrate her accomplishments with her class and get her diploma after she takes her classes this summer. I don’t see what purpose the school’s refusal serves. It’s not as though she was a slacker. I think if I were that school, I’d consider giving her the final exam, or the GED equivalent of an English test. If she passed the test (or otherwise showed competency), then she could graduate without having to take another class. Students all over the US (and world) routinely test out of classes. But even if she doesn’t test out of English, she should still walk across the stage.

    I suppose the school doesn’t want to encourage students to fall ill with cancer so they can get out of classes. 🙂