Decision to ban students from graduation ceremonies following alcohol use reversed

A group of students who were banned from high school graduation ceremonies as punishment for drinking at the prom will now be allowed to participate following an overruling by the interim superintendent.

Principal Donna Redmond Jones (READ HER LETTER TO PARENTS) punished six students from Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School after they violated an agreement to keep their prom alcohol-free last month.

During the ceremony, when Jones was introduced to the packed hall, some of the staff and parents gave a standing ovation.

Larry A. Bowers, Montgomery County's interim superintendent (READ HIS LETTER TO PARENTS) since February 2015, notified parents of the change last week. He said that he evaluated each case individually and decided that the students would be able to receive their diplomas on stage.

Superintendent Bowers was noticeably absent from the stage, not wanting to cause a distraction FOX 5 was told.

The county's no-tolerance policy on underage alcohol use followed a deadly accident that killed two Wootton High School students in June of last year. At the end of last year, Walt Whitman High School principal Alan Goodwin sent a warning to parents regarding hosting underage drinking parties.