Philadelphia high school grad denied diploma after dancing on stage during ceremony

A graduate of The Philadelphia High School for Girls was denied her diploma by the school’s principal as she danced across the stage during the school’s commencement ceremony on June 9.

Hafsah Abdur-Rahman, 17, overly ecstatic about graduating, was captured dancing with a bouquet in hand as she made her way to collect her diploma in front of her family and friends, receiving a light chuckle from the crowd.

When the teen reached out to claim her diploma, Principal Lisa Mesi seemingly waved her away, not allowing the teen to walk off with the degree.

“She stole that moment from me,” Abdur-Rahman told ABC 6. “I will never get that again.”

“I was so embarrassed. I couldn’t even enjoy the rest of the graduation.”

Mesi had warned families of her students prior to the ceremony that cheering and clapping while their loved ones walked across the stage was forbidden at the graduation.

A recent graduate at an all girls Philadelphia High School for Girls was denied her high school diploma on stage while her family watched from in crowd.
Hafsah Abdur-Rahman was seen momentarily doing “The Griddy” across the stage in excitement as she went to grab her degree.

The teen said Mesi told her she could not receive her diploma due to the audience’s sublet laughs.

“I understood the rules because I was saying ‘shh’ in the video. Do not say nothing because I want my diploma. I knew and understood what we were supposed to do,” Abdur-Rahman told the outlet.

Abdur-Rahman and her family believe she was targeted since other girls blew kisses and waved as they walked the stage, they told The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Principal Lisa Mesi wouldn't allow the young teen to take her diploma since the audience chuckled as she did the dance move.
Principal Lisa Mesi wouldn’t allow the young teen to take her diploma since the audience chuckled as she did the dance move.

Abdur-Rahman’s family said they remained quiet as she strutted across the stage, not wanting anything to tamper with her special moment, claiming she was being penalized for others’ reactions in the crowd.

“With the climate in the city of Philadelphia, these kids have lost so much,” Renee Haniyah Reid, Abdul-Rahman’s grandmother, told the outlet. “The dynamics have changed. And my granddaughter wants to be an entrepreneur; if she’s not going to college, this was her last walk. They told me, ‘Oh, well, she’ll get over it.’”

In an even stranger twist, the teen told the outlet that the assistant principal even instructed students to walk to get their degree with style to collect their degree.

Luckily, the teen was given her diploma following the conclusion of the ceremony.
Luckily, the teen was given her diploma following the conclusion of the ceremony.

“If they thought that I shouldn’t do ‘The Griddy’ across the stage and do the Girls’ High traditions, nobody should have been able to wave or blow kisses or do period signs because I feel like that’s the same thing. I feel like that’s unfair,” she proclaimed to ABC 6.

The teen said three other girls were not given their diplomas during the ceremony due to cheers and murmuring from audience members.

 All three girls were handed their degrees after the ceremony.

The Philadelphia High School for Girls is a college preparatory school that was founded in 1848.

“The District does not condone the withholding of earned diplomas based on family members cheering for their graduates. We apologize to all the families and graduates who were impacted and are further looking into this matter to avoid it happening in the future,” the school said in a statement to the outlet.

The assistant superintendent of the school contacted Abdur-Rahman following the ceremony to apologize to her and her mother for the principal ruining what was meant to be a cherished day in the young teen’s life.

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𝗖𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝘁𝘀, 𝗖𝗼𝗽𝘆𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 & 𝗖𝗼𝘂𝗿𝘁𝗲𝘀𝘆:
𝗙𝗼𝗿 𝗮𝗻𝘆 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝗿𝗲𝗴𝗮𝗿𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗗𝗠𝗖𝗔,
𝗣𝗹𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗲 𝘀𝗲𝗻𝗱 𝘂𝘀 𝗮𝗻 𝗲𝗺𝗮𝗶𝗹 𝗮𝘁

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