BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Numerous parents and family members are angry after they say they were locked out of the graduation ceremony for Belaire High, which was held Friday, May 17 at BRCC.
Parents say the ceremony was supposed to be held at LSU’s PMAC, but that it was moved to BRCC.
WAFB received multiple calls Friday evening from distraught parents, saying they had tickets to Belaire’s graduation, yet were locked out of the ceremony upon arrival due to the building being at capacity. WAFB reached out to the East Baton Rouge Parish School System about what happened. The school system says they’re looking into it and hope to find something out soon.
The Baton Rouge Police Department confirms officers were called out to the campus for a “disturbance and crowd control.” BRPD says other law enforcement agencies were also called out.
EBRPSS released a statement Friday night apologizing to the students and their families for the incident. The full statement reads:
“The East Baton Rouge Parish School System and Belaire High School express sincere regret and apologies to our students and their loved ones. In order to ensure safety, the facility management staff at BRCC temporarily delayed families and EBR staff from entering the building. Students work extremely hard to achieve this milestone and in spite of the events that transpired tonight, we would like to celebrate their accomplishments as a family and a community.”
BRCC also released a statement Friday night:
"Baton Rouge Community College has a long history of working with the community and opening our doors for special events, like tonight’s commencement.
While partnering with the community and local organizations in allowing them the use of our facilities, safety is always our top priority. It is required that we obey all established rules and regulations established by the Fire Marshal as well as law enforcement pertaining to safety and crowd control issues.
Graduation is a special time for families and friends and we sincerely regret that the entry and exit of the building had to be restricted by the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office for crowd control issues. When having events of this size, we yield to the authority of the Sheriff’s Office and follow their directives to ensure the safety of all individuals present. To gain control of the unruly crowd, the Sheriff’s Department determined that it was best to restrict the flow of movement in and out of the building until they regained control.
Upon regaining control of the crowd, the EBR Sheriff’s Office allowed individuals to enter and exit the facility again."