Teacher Angry That Students Who Didn't Graduate Still Got To Walk In A Cap & Gown — 'I Don't Know Who Is The Most Delusional'

Is it fair to let these students pretend to celebrate something they didn’t truly earn?

group of high school students celebrating at graduation Comstock / Canva Pro

A high school teacher joked about the “delusion” she witnessed during her school’s graduation ceremony that allowed seniors who did not graduate to walk across the stage in a cap and gown. But doesn’t this defeat the purpose of a graduation ceremony?

And what does this suggest about their futures, being rewarded for something they did not accomplish?

The teacher took to Reddit to share the absurdity of the event, sparking a discussion about who these ceremonies are meant for.

In the r/teachers forum, the teacher briefly explained that she taught the seniors in her school, so she knew the small percentage of students who did not graduate.


Despite this, some of these students still walked across the stage, repping the ceremonious ensemble, essentially contradicting the significance of such an occasion.

student carrying cap and gown before graduation ceremony tammykayphoto / Canva Pro

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“One student hadn't passed a social studies class in 4 years (my state has 3 years of mandatory social studies),” the teacher wrote.

On top of that, upon questioning their assistant principal about the reasoning behind this, the teacher revealed that it was to please the non-graduating students’ parents, once again proving many schools’ stronger emphasis on reputation and parent-pleasing over genuine education.

“I don’t know who is the most delusional,” she said. “The students, the parents, or the school.”

It also seems largely unfair for the students who did work hard to reach such an achievement to watch their peers pretend to celebrate something they did not earn.


Reddit users argued that graduation ceremonies are more intended to impress parents than they are to celebrate students.

This is surely not the case for every school and graduation, as these ceremonies are meant to commend students for their hard work and dedication. However, for this school in particular, the assistant principal himself disclosed the evident reality behind some of these ceremonies.

“Really illuminates that the ceremony itself is just a show and doesn’t necessarily mean anything beyond that,” one person commented in the thread. “​​It's for the parents and they will all insist it's for the kids while not [caring] about said students' opinions,” someone else added.

proud parents hug high school graduate New Africa / Shutterstock


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Not only is this deceptive idea unfair to those who did graduate, but it also subliminally mocks the students pretending to.

“I think those students who couldn't graduate didn't love the shame of having to stand there wearing a cap,” someone pointed out.

The school may have its reasons for coordinating such a fabrication, possibly hoping to inspire the students who didn’t really graduate. But it can also do just the opposite, prompting them to find the ceremony nothing but a performative joke to gain praise.

While the sentiment of letting students walk the stage, even though they did not meet their requirements, might seem sweet, it goes against what the true meaning of a graduation ceremony represents.


Students should be taught to embrace their failures, not lie about them.

Graduations are meant to honor and commend students for earning their achievements and bid them adieu as they enter the next stages of their lives. In no way should there be any falsities or “mock graduations” to please the parents of their underperforming kids.

This isn’t to condemn students for not receiving their diplomas, as not every individual’s journey is the same. These students should instead be given the opportunity to try again, or perhaps even find alternate means of earning their diploma.

But faking a graduation ceremony for the sake of a parent’s joy just feels wrong and ingenuine — and it says a lot about where some schools’ priorities lie. Rather than allowing students to learn from their mistakes and failures or guiding them through their options, these schools are feeding into the groundless desires of their students’ parents, all for the sake of a social media post bragging about their child’s (pretend) achievement.

This kind of behavior only places a misleading expectation on students. It hinders their preparation for the real world, allowing them to believe that they can dupe the system and celebrate something they didn’t rightfully earn.


This scheme is akin to the awards ceremonies designed for kids’ athletic teams, where every teammate is rewarded with a trophy for doing their best. The thought is a sweet notion, yet it causes kids to grow up discouraged by failure rather than inspired by it.

In many aspects of youth, adolescents are taught to fear and stray away from failing, but the truth is that failure is inevitable. It happens to everyone, and while nobody enjoys failing, it is through failure that individuals can truly learn and grow.

Putting on the show of a pretend graduation ceremony simply reinforces the stigma surrounding failure. In reality, we should all be grateful for each of our mistakes and failures, as that is what builds are characteristics and resilience. 

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​​Francesca Duarte is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team based in Orlando, FL. She covers lifestyle, human-interest, adventure, and spirituality topics.