May 24, 2012 -
A Colquitt County High School senior who has Asperger's Syndrome was told he couldn't participate in the graduation ceremony.
Let Ryan Walk At His Graduation. That's the message on a facebook page that has hundreds of supporters.
The Colquitt County Board of Education voted three to one on Monday night not to allow Ryan James, who has Asperger's Syndrome, to participate in graduation ceremonies.
The Colquitt County Schools Superintendent, Leonard McCoy, said the board had to consider some extenuation circumstances when making their decision."
"The Board of Education refused the right of this particular student to participate in graduation. The primary reason being that he had not been a student in the buildings, per se, for the past fourteen months," said McCoy.
Ryan has been receiving alternative education at home. His mother says that decision was made after complaints were made against Ryan at school. Complaints she says were later proven false.
The Board reversed their decision in an emergency meeting Wednesday night. They say he can walk but only with adult supervision. Ryan wants to walk alone.
"I just want Ryan to feel like the rest of the kids. He earned his diploma. He should be able to walk and be proud of his accomplishments," said Gayle Payne, Ryan's mom.
"I really believe that the tact that's been taken by the Colquitt County Board serves the best of both worlds," said McCoy.
Ryan was invited to participate in the rehearsal scheduled for Friday morning. As of Thursday night, he and his mother were unsure if he would choose to participate.