Administration concerned over size and rowdiness. Board will wait until May 20 to vote.

Taft Union High School is considering limiting the number of people allowed in to its graduation ceremony by issuing tickets.

Administrators and the TUHS District Board discussed the sticky issue at length Monday night but will wait until the next board meeting on May 20 before making a final decision.

Assistant Principal Rona Angelo and Director of Guidance Chelle Koerner presented the idea,

They cited overcrowding, rowdiness and security concerns.

The on-campus shooting of a student in January, plus the bombings earlier in the day at the Boston Marathon played a part in the thinking.

"With the security issues we've had here and what we had in Boston today, it's a good time to consider this," Angelo told the board.

Angelo said some people are interfering with the solemnity of the occasion.

"There are loud people and there's people that aren't there for the right reasons and they're kind of spoiling it," Angelo said. "We want to make sure the people there really want to honor the graduates."

Koerner, to said she felt that some people were interfering with the dignity of the ceremony.

She said the decision to ask for the switch to requiring tickets wasn't an easy one.

"We are big on honoring our traditions, so it has been a hard thing on us to consider changes," she said.

TUHS graduation ceremonies have filled the large home bleachers, which seat approximately 3,650 people, and left crowds standing between the stands and the entry gates

School officials presented a proposal to issue about 3,600 tickets, enough to fill up the home stands at Martin Memorial Stadium.

There are 230 Taft High and Buena Vista High students eligible to graduate this year and each graduating student would get 10 tickets, Angelo said.
They could request more.

That would still leave approximately 1200 tickets available to the community and the school's classified staff by request.

Board President Rick Twisselman said he was very hesitant to impose limits on the number of people attending the graduation ceremony.

"I would like to see us exhaust all other options before we exclude the community," he said.

Board member George Harmer said he felt the stands have been getting too crowded.

"At some point we need to say 'No more people can go into the stands,' " Harmer said.

Opening up the bleachers on the east side of the stadium was discussed, but Koerner felt that would raise too many security issues.

Board member Ken Anderson said security was his major concern.

"I'm really starting to think more about security than I have in the past. Do I like it? No," he said. "I think times are changing and a new tomorrow started at our school."

The board will have to make up its mind on whether or not to require tickets at the one meeting left before the June 5 graduation.