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Rural Texas high school will now hold graduation after majority of senior class meets requirements

By Chris Boyette and Zoe Sottile, Michelle Watson and Jeremy Grisham, CNN

(CNN) — A rural Texas high school that had postponed graduation after only five of 33 seniors initially met requirements says a majority of seniors are now on track to graduate on June 22.

Marlin Independent School District Superintendent Darryl J. Henson told CNN Tuesday that 33 of 38 seniors at Marlin High School this week met all requirements for graduation.

“The remaining five seniors are attending our extended school year program and are on-track to complete all requirements before the June 22 graduation date,” Henson said via email.

“We knew that with extra support and accountability, all seniors would meet the requirements outlined by the Texas Education Agency,” Henson added.

Marlin ISD serves 880 student in Marlin, about 25 miles southeast of Waco.

The district had announced late last month the small high school had to postpone its graduation ceremony after an end-of-year review revealed only five seniors had met the requirements to graduate, according to the superintendent.

The district rescheduled the ceremony for June, according to a letter posted on Facebook on May 24. “The decision by the high school to postpone graduation will provide more time for students to meet necessary requirements for graduation,” it said.

Many students at the school “did not meet requirements due to attendance or grades,” the letter stated.

The school district added in the notice that it has “affirmed its commitment to providing necessary resources and support for students.

Henson had called a mandatory meeting for parents of seniors last month.

“The state of Texas has guidelines for graduation,” Henson said at the meeting. “This is not a dance floor. … It’s not a homecoming pep rally. This is graduation.”

After some students made up classroom hours and assignments last month, 17 additional students were made eligible for graduation in June, according to Henson at the time.

The community responded with an informal graduation ceremony at a church on May 27, the day the students were originally meant to graduate, according to CNN affiliate KWTX. Some family members flew in from as far as Mexico for the canceled graduation and would be unable to make a second trip for the rescheduled ceremony in June, KWTX reported.

According to Marlin High Schools’ Texas Schools report card, 98.7% of the school’s students come from an economically disadvantaged background. A total of 229 students were enrolled at the school in the 2021-22 school year.

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