South Charlotte

Graduation cheerers cleared after apologies

Disorderly conduct charges against at least seven of the eight people arrested in June for cheering at high school graduations have been dismissed after they wrote apologies for their behavior at the ceremonies.

The dismissal means it remains unclear whether cheering at graduation is against the law, while at least one of the school districts that featured the majority of the arrests plans no changes in graduation programs that ban cheering during the presentation of diplomas.

“I'm sorry, I'm sincere in my apology, what I did was rude,” Joseph Reiriz, 21, said after signing the apology Tuesday in Rock Hill city court.

Reiriz was handcuffed and booked into jail June 7 after cheering for his younger brother at Fort Mill High's graduation at Winthrop Coliseum. The apology Reiriz signed was crafted by prosecutors and a defense lawyer that stated to school students, staff and others that his “actions took away from the dignity and respect which every member of the Class of 2008 had earned.” Schools did tell attendees before the ceremony that outbursts could lead to removal.

“I expected to be escorted out, but I didn't expect legal action,” Reiriz said after court.

Jonathan Orr, 21, also was arrested June 6 at York Comprehensive High's graduation for cheering for his cousin. Orr appeared in court without a defense lawyer Tuesday and told Judge Ray Long he was sorry.

Of the eight arrests at Winthrop Coliseum the weekend of June 6 and 7, six came at Fort Mill High School's graduation.

One was at Northwestern High School's graduation where a widower following his dying wife's wish cheered for his daughter. Allen Brandon was in a traffic wreck weeks after the incident and has been unable to sign the apology.