District: North High students shamed in graduation assembly

OILDALE, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) The Kern High School District is playing damage control after some students were publicly shamed Tuesday morning during an assembly at North High School.

The school held a rally for seniors to discuss graduation and other upcoming senior activities, but, during the assembly, students who were in danger of not graduating were called out and told to leave the gymnasium - in front of all their peers.

"They made them leave the rally and go stand outside, because they weren't graduating, and they made them (file out), one by one by one," said Tyler Redwine, a senior at North High.

Quane Sutton, also a senior at North High, said, "I was shocked.

"It's not our business to know who's not graduating and who is graduating," Sutton continued.

John Teves, with the Kern High School District, said that this was not planned or approved by school officials. He said the district has received a number of calls from upset parents and students.

"They're supposed to be separated before the assembly so that those that are not going to graduate go to a room and get information about how they can graduate," said Teves.

Some students and parents expressed concern Wednesday, saying that this is a form of bullying.

Teves said while insensitive and unacceptable, he doesn't believe it's bullying.

"Bullying begins with the words, repeated behavior that is hurtful or menacing. It has to be more than one instance. It's a pattern of behavior, and there will not be a repeat of what happened yesterday, I can assure you," he said.

Students believe it should have been handled differently.

"They should've told the students that they're in danger, that they're on the red line list, but not in front of their fellow peers," said Redwine.

School officials have apologized to the individual students and parents affected, as well as the entire senior class.

"Right now what we're concentrating on is trying to re-establish relationships with our students and their parents," Teves told Eyewitness News.

At this time, the district is still investigating and hasn't determined what disciplinary action will be taken.