Student Denied Diploma After Doing ‘the Griddy’ on Graduation Stage

  • A Philadelphia high school denied a student her diploma after she did “The Griddy” at graduation.
  • The student said the principal told her she could not get a diploma because she made the audience laugh.
  • Her family confronted school administrators after the ceremony but were led away by police.

An 18-year-old student was “publicly humiliated” when her high school principal refused to give her a diploma at graduation because she did a “lil shimmy” across the stage, her grandmother says.

Renee Hadiyah Reid posted a video of her granddaughter, Hafsah Abdur-Rahman, that shows Abdur-Rahman doing the “The Griddy” on the stage before proceeding to accept her diploma.

The Griddy is a dance that originated as a football touchdown celebration.

Reid said that parents and loved ones were asked not to scream or celebrate when their children’s names were announced during the graduation ceremony. The video shows Abdur-Rahman putting her finger in front of her mouth while looking at her family before her name is called.

“I understood the rules because I was saying ‘shh’ in the video. Do not say nothing because I want my diploma,” Abdur-Rahman told WHYY, a public radio station in Philadelphia. “I knew and understood what we were supposed to do.”

Abdur-Rahman told WHYY that the principal told her she could not receive her diploma because she made the audience laugh.

“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 said.

Abdur-Rahman’s family confronted the school’s administrators after the ceremony but were led away by police, Reid said. According to Reid, when Abdur-Rahman’s family found her, they could tell she had been crying.

“I promise the letters they will be receiving in the next few days won’t be in the principal’s favor!!” Reid wrote. “As educators you are NOT supposed to humiliate these children.”

The School District of Philadelphia said in a statement that it does not condone the withholding of earned diplomas based on family members cheering, and it’s looking into this matter to avoid it happening in the future, WHYY reported.

“I was so embarrassed. I couldn’t even enjoy the rest of the graduation,” Abdur-Rahman said.

Philadelphia High School for Girls Principal Lisa Mesi did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment on Saturday.

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