The family of a Philadelphia high school graduate is speaking out after a student was denied her diploma in front of attendees. Hafsah Abdur-Rahman, 17, was granted her certificate after the ceremony ended but was robbed of the once-in-a-lifetime moment all because she briefly danced onstage.
“She stole that moment from me,” Abdur-Rahman said of The Philadelphia High School for Girls’ principal. “I will never get that again,” she confessed in an interview published today (June 16) with local news station ABC 6. The 17-year-old admitted she cried in humiliation after being denied her diploma because she did The Griddy dance for several seconds as she approached the faculty member to receive the reward for her hard work.
“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,” Abdur-Rahman explained. She told the Philadelphia outlet that the graduation was especially important to her because it was a way to honor her sister who was killed at 14 years old and was never given the opportunity to graduate high school.
The School District of Philadelphia condemned the handling of the situation. “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,” they said in a statement. “It’s 2023; a lot has happened. These girls went through COVID together. Our kids are not even living up to see high school. I understand traditions and rules are set in place for a reason, and we’re not saying they should be broken, but it might need to be revised also,” Abdur-Rahman’s mother added.