A judge ruled late Tuesday that a Headland High School senior can graduate with his classmates though he failed a portion of the state graduation exam and his walking appears to violate policy. Aaron Sanders, following the judicial decision, immediately left the courthouse and headed home to get ready for graduation exercises.
The Henry County Board of Education had refused to allow Sanders to participate in commencement ceremonies because he failed the reading portion of the grad exam. A policy Superintendent Lesa Knowles said has been in place several years bar him from graduating.
However, in his ruling, Circuit Judge Brad Mendheim said the board has not adequately explained the basis for the policy as applied to a student under these or similar circumstances. He said "while evidence shows the school attempted to assist Sanders in passing the reading section but the same evidence is unclear whether the policy would be enforced against this student."
Furthermore, the judge ruled Sanders, despite his failing grade, Sanders would be allowed to graduate in other Alabama school systems. He even referenced comments made to WDHN-TV Monday by State Superintendent Tommy Bice who said he would likely approve Sanders' graduation.