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CMS dealing with some graduation-season flaps

A graduate at Providence High and a moving-up event involving Ranson Middle School students provided headaches this week for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools officials.

CMS says it has solved an issue involving a standout senior baseball player at Providence.

Meanwhile, a new issue developed Wednesday night at a moving-up ceremony for Ranson Middle School students and family members. About 50 people were denied entrance to the event, held at West Charlotte High, because the auditorium was at capacity.

The Providence High issue with senior Ty Buttrey is a case of bad communications, school officials say.

Buttrey will be permitted to walk with fellow seniors at commencement exercises Tuesday – despite comments to the contrary in recent days.

Buttrey is a highly rated pitching prospect; he was selected Tuesday by the Boston Red Sox in the fourth round of the Major League Baseball draft. He did not attend Monday evening’s graduation practice for Providence High seniors because – according to his father Dan on WBTV – he was negotiating with teams that might select him in the next day’s draft.

Not attending rehearsal was a potential problem because CMS policy says students who do not attend the practice are not allowed to walk with fellow students at the graduation event.

Dan Buttrey told WBTV that he and Providence High baseball coach Danny Hignight asked Providence’s principal, Tracey Harrill, if she would grant Ty a waiver from the rehearsal-attendance rule. Harrill refused, according to Dan Buttrey.

The story gained further traction Wednesday afternoon when Taylor Zarzour and Marc James, hosts of the WFNZ-AM radio sports talk show “The Drive,” reported that Buttrey was not being permitted to walk at graduation. Their show is syndicated on a number of Carolinas stations, and callers suggested flooding the school with protest calls.

But Providence’s principal said nobody ever talked to her.

And Zarzour said on the air Wednesday night that Providence’s coach called the station and said he had not talked to the principal about granting a waiver for Buttrey.

CMS says Ty Buttrey and his mother met Wednesday afternoon with Harrill, and the principal told Ty he could participate in commencement exercises.

“No decision had been made prior to this meeting, and Ms. Harrill never told Ty or his parents that he could not walk,” CMS spokeswoman Tahira Stalberte said. “It is unfortunate that inaccurate information was reported in the media, causing such negative attention on such a positive accomplishment.

“We are proud of all he has accomplished.”

Ranson Middle problems

About 50 people were not permitted to enter a West Charlotte High auditorium Wednesday night to watch the moving-up ceremonies for Ranson Middle School eighth-graders because the auditorium was full.

Ranson Middle officials apparently had distributed tickets in advance to families of eighth-graders.

Parent Najma Smith told WCNC-TV, the Observer’s news partner, that she was kept out of the auditorium and was upset.

“I did not get to see my child walk across the stage,” Smith told WCNC.

“He had nobody there to support him. I didn’t get to take any pictures – no memories of this special moment.”

Moving-up ceremonies are traditional in the transition grades – kindergarten, fifth grade, and eighth grade – where students are moving up to another level of schooling. WCNC-TV contributed.

Lyttle: 704-358-6107
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