Graduation canceled over food fight now back on

Graduation canceled over food fight now back on

By Matt Grant. CREATED May 10, 2012

FORT MYERS - An eighth grade graduation ceremony that was canceled over an out of control food fight is now back on.

There were plenty of hugs and high-fives at Vickey Pugh's home Thursday after we told them the ceremony was back on.

"I'm excited that the graduation's back on," said Pugh. "Now we can continue on with our plans to have our party."

But that party almost didn't happen.

The principal of the James Stephens International Academy in Fort Myers called off the ceremony this week after an out-of-control food fight last Friday involving most of the eighth grade class.

Pugh turned to Fox 4 for help Tuesday after she spent $200 on a new suit for her son.

Since then our story's been shared almost 100 times on Facebook. Many viewers felt the district went too far.

"I don't understand why they're punishing the whole eighth grade," one viewer said.

The district originally told us the ceremony could continue if the students who started the food fight confessed.

But they are now appearing to back off that confirming Thursday the graduation ceremony will continue as planned.

"Why do you think they had a sudden change of heart?," asked Fox 4 reporter Matt Grant.

"Maybe because I called Fox 4," said Pugh.

"I believe that she [the principal] felt that maybe she was a little too harsh," said school board member Don Armstrong.

Armstrong says he doesn't know why the principal changed her mind. But he's glad she did, saying he felt the punishment went too far.

"That's what disturbed me," said Armstrong. "I don't think it was fair."

As for Pugh's son, his yellow T-shirt says the "Mustang Class of 2012 Has It All" - and they'll now have a graduation ceremony.

"And that beautiful suit that you bought him?," said Grant.

"He gets to wear it!," said Pugh.

A district spokesperson would only say the school found a "successful resolution." The class will still be punished for the food fight, but the spokesperson would not say what that punishment will be.

Matt Grant