Michigan schools may soon be allowed to host graduation and commencement ceremonies, regardless of executive health orders.
The Michigan House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a bill that would bar health departments from implementing restrictions on graduation ceremonies.
Rep. Ann Bollin (R-42-Brighton), the sponsor of the bill, said that, under current health department rules, three high schools in her district would be unable to host graduation ceremonies without limiting students to a single guest each, even if the venue had enough space to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
“Michigan seniors deserve an opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments with all those who led and supported them along the way,” Bollin said in a statement on Tuesday introducing the bill. “Deciding which of their loved ones gets to attend their graduation ceremony is not a choice any teenager should be forced to make.”
The bill — which passed 60-48, according to data from Legiscan — would prevent state or local emergency orders from restricting graduation ceremonies for the graduating class of 2021.
“Our school have demonstrated their ability to safely educate our students. Many school districts, like mine in Livingston County, have been able to offer in-person and remote learning since day one,” Bollin said on the House floor. “…This bill does not require a district to offer this option, it just enables them in a manner that suits their district.”
Rep. Pamela Hornberger (R-32-Chesterfield) was among those supporting the bill.
“Graduating high school is an important milestone and every student who has earned their diploma deserves to celebrate it,” Hornberger said in a statement on Tuesday. “Local school districts can plan safe graduation ceremonies that protect students, teachers and educators while following state and federal health recommendations like social distancing and use of masks.”
This bill will now be referred to the Michigan Senate.
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