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RCAS: Student Now Allow To Walk For Graduation

Rapid City Area Schools website

Rapid City Area Schools are reversing a decision that denied a student with cancer at Central High School to walk for graduation.

The change came a day after the school doubled down on their decision, citing a shortfall in school credits. Officials with the school district say they’re going to revisit their graduation policy.

Meredith Erck is a senior at Central High School in Rapid City. She’s six credits short from meeting the graduation requirement. Erck has dealt with both brain and colon cancer, which the family says contributed to her being unable to meet those credits on time.

Sue Polanco is Meredith’s grandmother.

“After being told ‘no’ for three times in a week’s time, she decided it was time to speak up, tell her story and hopefully make some changes in policy in school districts so that other children who are ill, have to go through five surgeries in two and a half years, can be changes made in the policies to accommodate other children.”

The story of school officials not allowing Erck to walk for graduation spread quickly.

Rapid City school officials said earlier this week that allowing this exception would be unfair to past students who were unable to graduate on time.

However, the superintendent of Rapid City Area Schools, Dr. Lori Simon, says they’re changing their minds in allowing Erck to walk for graduation. Simon says the district will make these considerations on a  case by case basis going forward…

“Not all decisions are black and white. Not everyone agrees on one side of the issue or another. I think this is a situation where we had to look at it on an individual basis. I think, moving forward, any policy… we need to think through those pieces really carefully to see if we can provide a little more guidance for these kinds of exceptional situations.”

The Central High School graduation is this Sunday.