School district says policy changes coming after shoe mishap

The shoe swap between John Butler and Daverius Peters that went viral last month.

Graduation dress code changes are coming to St. Charles Parish Public Schools after the story of what happened at Hahnville High School’s May 19 graduation went viral via social media and captured the attention of many national media outlets.

Stevie Crovetto, director of public information for St. Charles Parish Public Schools, said the situation has been followed-up on by the school district and decisions on specific dress code changes will be hammered out after meetings with various stakeholder groups including students, parents and employees.

“When we have an opportunity to make improvements to current policies, procedures, guidelines, practices, etc., we act on it and as such, will be revising the graduation dress code,” she said. “We appreciate this being brought to our attention so we can continue our work towards more inclusive and equitable practices.”

Media outlets such as the Washington Post and CNN ran with the local story of a supposed dress code violation at the HHS graduation last month and the educator who saved the day – or in this case – the graduation.

John Butler, a HHS paraeducator, was attending the school’s graduation as a parent – his daughter Jaelyn was set to graduate that night.

Daverius Peters, a member of HHS’ class of 2021, was attending the ceremony as a graduate, but was barred from entering the building when a school representative insisted that his shoes did not adhere to the dress code.

“I was waiting outside the facility for my wife and my other daughter to show up,” Butler said of when Peters ran over to him and explained the shoe situation. “He found me and looked very concerned he said, ‘Mr. John, they won’t let me graduate and receive my diploma.’”

Butler said his initial reaction was confusion.

“I was just confused,” he said. “I just wanted to make sure he had the right information.”

After Butler walked over to the door with Peters and talked to the school representative, Peters was still denied entry.

“She was adamant that he couldn’t wear the shoes,” Butler said. “At that moment it was a no brainer to take the shoes off my feet. He was happy to wear them.”

The fit wasn’t perfect. Butler wears a size 11 and Peters wears a size 9, but the shoe sharing gesture allowed Peters entry into his graduation.

“I walked around the whole graduate barefoot,” Butler said. “I was getting quite a few looks. My wife showed up after it happened and as we were going to our seats she looked at my feet and asked where my shoes were.”

Butler said he posted a photo of him in his socks and Peters in his shoes on his private Facebook page just for his friends to see.

“I was originally posting it because it was a feel-good story just for people on my friends list, but somebody screenshotted it and shared it,” he said. “I made it public after so many people had screenshotted it.”

Butler said he held onto Peters’ shoes until after the ceremony.

“His family was already seated,” Butler said. “We met up at the end, so we swapped shoes then. It means a lot to me that he saw me and he felt like he had a good shot at accomplishing what he needed. I was happy I was able to build that rapport with him. We just need to do better as a parish to support our young people. I’m for what is right.”

 

About Monique Roth 482 Articles
Roth has both her undergraduate and graduate degree in journalism, which she has utilized in the past as an instructor at Southeastern Louisiana University and a reporter at various newspapers and online publications. She grew up in LaPlace, where she currently resides with her husband and three daughters.

3 Comments

  1. St Charles School Board has missed the train. This has nothing to do about the dress code. Whatever you change it to, you will always have someone that won’t comply. This has to deal with adults who apparently do not have any common sense, have no capacity to make decisions, or exercise good judgment. Perhaps, they should save the time and energy to address the dress code and conduct a class on judgment, compassion, and common sense. Policy is just that-POLICY. It is not meant to be all or none. COMMON SENSE.

  2. St Charles parish school lies and cover the truth the only way they try to fix anything is if they get exposed and they don’t have no choice, but they will try to cover up the truth if they can. Just like when the teacher scratched the skin off my 6 year old son face. Or how about the last day of last school the lunch monitor pinched my son 5 times and pushed him to the wall then followed him the bathroom and told him “B@&ch don’t f&cking play with.. The lunch monitor was arrested but never was posted on the jail roster there never was a write up on her! Or how about when the drunk teacher bit my son in headstart later the find found she was drinking on the job and fired her!! StCharles school system is full of Sh&t

  3. “When we have an opportunity to make improvements to current policies, procedures, guidelines, practices, etc., we act on it and as such, will be revising the graduation dress code. We appreciate this being brought to our attention so we can continue our work towards more inclusive and equitable practices.”

    This is PR babble. An appropriate response would have been something more like this: “First, we apologize to Daverius Peters and his family, and we congratulate John Butler for setting an example pf compassion and resourcefulness that we would all do well to follow. This incident could have been completely avoided if we had reasonable policies in place and people empowered to make basic, common sense decisions. Going forward, we will be sure that we do.”

    No high school student should ever be denied the culminating moment of 13 years of work because their shoes don’t meet someone’s arbitrary standards of aesthetics.

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