Dad Disrupts Wisconsin Graduation To Keep School Superintendent From Shaking His Daughter's Hand — 'I Don't Want Her Touching Him'

The physical attack on Superintendent Rainey Briggs, a Black man, follows previous incidents of shocking racism in the town.

graduation sengchoy / Getty Images / Canva Pro

High school graduation is meant to be a milestone that creates lifelong memories. 

In Baraboo, Wisconsin, the 2024 graduation ceremony at Baraboo High School is shaping up to be memorable for all the wrong reasons after a parent's aggression toward the school superintendent disrupted the ceremony in what is just the latest incident in a deeply troubled community.

The dad shoved school superintendent Rainey Briggs away from shaking his daughter's hand as she got her diploma.

The incident occurred approximately one hour into the graduation ceremony for the class of 2024 at Baraboo High School in Baraboo, Wisconsin.


As seen at approximately the 1:09:00 mark in the video below, as a white female student crossed the stage to get her diploma, a white man stormed onto the stage and shoved school superintendent Rainey Briggs, a Black man, as his daughter approached school board members for the customary handshakes.

RELATED: Parent Barged Into A Middle School Science Class To Demand They Stop Teaching ‘Astrology’ And Lying About How The Earth Was Made


In audio from Briggs' hot mic, a voice believed to be the dad's could be heard saying, "​​I don’t want her touching him." Briggs could be heard saying, "You better get up off me man, get away from me bro" in response.

The scuffle occurred outside the frame of the video, but throughout it, the man's daughter can be seen reacting in discomfited surprise to the incident. She appears to cover her eyes in disappointment at one point before awkwardly moving her tassel to the other side of her hat and shuffling off of the stage as some in the crowd begin to boo.

Those boos later turned to cheers from some as another faculty member attempted to move the ceremony forward. It's unknown what the cheers were in reference to. 


But recent events in Baraboo indicate a community and school district being torn apart by ideological disagreements over racial issues following a shocking recent history of racist and antisemitic incidents.

Briggs was hired in 2021 following a string of racial incidents in Baraboo, including one in which students were photographed giving a Nazi salute.

Baraboo made international news in 2018 following a photo of about 60 boys at the school giving what appeared to be a Nazi salute in front of the school. The parent who took the photo claimed it was just an ill-timed snap of the boys waving goodbye to their parents, an explanation that did little to stop the blowback.

In 2021, former student Dasia Banks, a Black woman, settled a federal lawsuit with the Baraboo school district alleging years of racist harassment beginning in first grade. Banks said school staff refused to do anything about the harassment, including a principal of Baraboo High School who told her racial slurs were "free speech."

@journalsentinel For five Baraboo High School students, the night of Oct. 5 started with a plan to take part in lighthearted homecoming antics. It ended with the arrests of three men including a school leader, following a confrontation the boys said made them fear for their lives and seemed racist. #wisconsin #baraboo #baraboohighschool #students #racism #hochunknation #highschoolfootball #highschool#greenscreen ♬ original sound - journalsentinel

Briggs was hired in 2021, just before the town was once again rocked by a 2022 incident in which several boys of color reported fearing for their lives when they, but not their white friends, were placed under citizen's arrest by three men who included a Baraboo High School employee. One of the boys claimed one of the men threatened to use a weapon on them.

RELATED: Teacher Condemned By A Parent For ‘Wasting Time’ On A Fun Classroom Activity — ‘I Demand An Apology’

Some parents in Baraboo are now attempting to recall members of the school board, and Briggs has been a target of their complaints.

School districts have been ground zero in many conservative politicians', activists', and parents' battles over the inclusion of issues of race and LGBTQ+ rights in school curricula, and it appears Baraboo may be one of them.


Parents and some faculty in the district have been organizing a recall effort of School Board President Kevin Vodak, alleging mismanagement of taxpayer dollars, high turnover among the district's teachers, and conflicts of interest.

Posts in Facebook groups organizing the effort, however, indicate that ideological objections to other staff managed by Vodak, particularly Briggs, are as much, if not more, at the forefront of parents' concerns as Vodak's alleged misdeeds.

Parents and right-wing media have accused Briggs of racism, for example, following a recent focus group he led titled "Racism As A Public Health Issue," because the focus group centered on students of color and not white students.


Other posts in the organizing groups share right-wing news clips and discussions of concepts like Critical Race Theory (CRT), Social Emotional Learning (SEL), "wokeness," and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), all right-wing bugaboos many conservatives claim are racist toward white people and promote the so-called LGBTQ+ "agenda."

CRT is a field of academic study that is typically not taught in schools, while SEL has been standard practice in education for decades. Neither concept was controversial or even well-known outside academic circles until the 2020s.

@legacya_ Did you hear about the dad who rushed to the stage at a Baraboo, WI graduation to stop the superintendent (who is black) from shaking his daughter's hand? It's alleged that the dad said some racist things on stage. Well, I'm not shocked or phased at all being from there, and knowing what I know the racism is harsh and real there. #baraboo #graduation #racism #wisconsin #bornandraised #itsreal #askme ♬ original sound - It's Moore To Lyfe

It is not known what motivated the dad's angry outburst against Briggs at his daughter's graduation. 


What is known is that other controversial school board members, including the subject of the recall effort, Kevin Vodak, all of them white, were onstage alongside Briggs. Their handshakes with the man's daughter went uninterrupted.

RELATED: Teacher Quitting After 24 Years Says The ‘New Type Of Parent’ Is To Blame — ‘We Have Become Babysitters’

John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.