Making it to graduation day isn’t the easiest task for all students. While some students are born into loving and supportive families or into a lifestyle where they have a roof over their heads in a safe place, food on the table, and their other basic needs met, others aren’t so lucky.
And even if all their needs are met, there’s an array of personal issues facing teens.
So, graduating from high school can be an amazing feat and a great accomplishment. Imagine having the nerve to try and deny a student their right to walk during graduation over their choice of footwear on graduation day?
Well, that’s exactly what happened to Daverius Peters when he tried to graduate from Hahnville High School in Boutte, Louisiana tried to do to
But teacher John Butler wasn’t about to let that happen.
Even if he had to stand in his socks for the duration of the graduation ceremony.
When Peters arrived at the convention ceremony where the graduation ceremony was being held, he had on the required purple cap and gown.
However, a school representative refused him entry because of his shoes.
“She said my shoes violated the dress code and I couldn’t attend the ceremony unless I changed them,” said Peters.
The school’s graduation dress code required male students to wear dark dress shoes and “athletic shoes” were to be excluded.
Peters had on black leather sneakers with white soles.
“I thought I could wear them because they’re black,” told The Washington Post.
But that wasn’t good enough.
“I was in shock,” Peters said. “I felt humiliated. I just wanted to walk across the stage and get my diploma.”
Peters didn’t have time to stop at a store to buy new shoes and started to panic.
“Daverius came up to me in a panic and he said, ‘Mr. John, they’re not going to let me graduate.’ And I said, ‘Why?’ And he said, ‘Because of the shoes that I’m wearing,’” Butler told CBS News.
Butler said it was “crazy” that they weren’t letting Peters in because of his shoes.
“There was nothing eccentric about his shoes,” Butler said.
He even tried to reason with the woman who denied Peters entry hoping that if Peters was with a teacher, he’d be allowed on stage.
“But she insisted on not letting this young man in, and I didn’t have time to go back and forth with her.”
Butler didn’t think twice about putting his student’s mind at ease.
“It was a no-brainer,” he said. “This was the most important moment in his life up to that point, and I wasn’t going to let him miss it for anything.”
They were two sizes too big, and they weren’t black but they were dress shoes and would pass the ridiculous red tape imposed upon Peters.
“So I just slipped them on like slippers” Peters said. He told CBS News that. “I felt the joy. The whole day, I couldn’t wait to 6 o’clock, couldn’t wait to get ready to graduate across the stage.”
Peters describes his teachers as a “motivator” and a “hero.”
“I wasn’t surprised because Mr. Butler is that type of person. At school, if you’re having a bad day, he’ll be the one to take you out of class, walk around the school with you and talk to you,” Peters said.
Meanwhile, Butler plans to meet with administrators to discuss the dress code and what happened at graduation.
“Something that small shouldn’t rob a kid from experiencing this major moment,” said Butler.
Peters’ parents said they were very upset over the incident.
“He worked so hard, and for someone to just rip that away from him, that was maddening to me,” his mother, Jima Smith said. “How about if I couldn’t afford to buy him the shoes? This is not just about him; this is about the people that come after him. If it wasn’t for Mr. Butler’s kind and thoughtful act, my child would have been sitting outside, and I wouldn’t have known.”