Runestad supports local control for graduation ceremonies

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jim Runestad on Tuesday voted in support of legislation that would give local school districts the freedom to determine their own graduation ceremonies.

House Bill 4728, which mirrored Runestad’s Senate Bill 335, would ensure that emergency “lockdown” orders issued by the state health department do not prohibit or limit a high school graduation commencement ceremony.

“Schools have shown they can operate safely and securely. They’ve shown the right judgment throughout this pandemic. Now we ought to trust them with their graduations,” said Runestad, R-White Lake. “Every single day more and more people are vaccinated, and every single day we’re getting safer. At the end of the day school districts and parents should decide on their graduations, not the state.”

As of May 17, over 8 million vaccines have been administered in Michigan. Over 56% of eligible adults are considered fully vaccinated. Bridge Michigan also reported that COVID-19 hospitalizations dropped below 2,000 on Monday — the first time they have been that low since March.

“So, if a school district can hold a graduation, while still operating safely, then they should be able to do just that. We can make a difference for families by giving them this proud moment,” Runestad said. “I’ve heard from Democrats, Republicans and Independents who all want their students to be able to enjoy their graduation ceremony. Our kids have had a rough couple of years, and we can’t give them everything they’ve missed. Giving our graduates this — a simple, safe, and memorable graduation — would let them end high school on a high note.”

HB 4728 now advances to the governor’s desk.

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