[Vision2020] Things Not To Do at Your Graduation

Tom Hansen thansen at moscow.com
Wed Jun 11 19:04:41 PDT 2008

>From the ABS NEws website at:



18 year old Joseph Bryan Shore was arrested at his high school graduation 
for disorderly conduct. Shore cursed and flipped the bird in the direction 
of the audience while walking across stage to receive his diploma.



Graduating Senior Arrested, Handcuffed at Commencement for Flipping the 

Principal: "We Really Wanted a Dignified Ceremony"

It's not uncommon for high school seniors to try to make themselves stand 
out from the crowd during graduation ceremonies, maybe with something 
benign like writing "Hi Mom" on their robes or doing a funny dance on the 
walk across stage. But one small-town Alabama student immortalized the 
moment and got more than he bargained for en route to receiving his 
diploma  a trip to jail. 

In the short walk across stage, Joseph Bryan Shore, 18, elicited more than 
boos when he allegedly cursed out his family and flipped the bird to the 
crowd, according to authorities. Immediately after the ceremony, two 
police officers took him into custody and charged him with disorderly 

Arab, Ala. assistant police chief Jeff Bailey said he had never seen 
anything like it before. 

"This is a small town, a little quiet place," Bailey said. "He basically 
disrupted the whole graduation with his hollering and cursing." 

The Arab Police department said the police report of the incident has now 
been sealed but excerpts of the police report published in The 
ArabTribune.com last week stated that Shore resisted police attempts to 
restrain him. 

"Shore was cursing school staff, and, as Sgt. [Gina] Smith and Sgt. 
[Lauren] Harnack approached, it appeared the subject was about to run," 
according to the excerpt. "Smith advised him to place his hands behind his 
back, but he began resisting." 

The principal of Arab City High School, Patrick Crowder, said he regretted 
the incident but that he had no choice other than to have Shore arrested. 

"I wish that it hadn't happened," Crowder said of the incident, but 
added, "I had to act and feel like I did the right thing. & I had to send 
a message to our seniors and those in the stands. We really wanted a 
dignified ceremony." 

But dignified was not exactly what they got. So while other graduates 
marched out to Pomp and Circumstance and gathered on the football field 
for celebratory hugs and pictures with grandma, Shore was arrested, 
handcuffed and whisked off to jail by police, which did not sit well with 
his parents. 

An excerpt of the police report published by the Arabtribune.com, 
described the Shore family as "irate because he was under arrest. Several 
times they had to be told to calm down and back off." 

Shore's father, Terry Shore, is outraged and calls the incident at last 
week's graduation a "trap." He thinks his son, who had clashed with school 
administrators for behavioral issues before, was targeted unfairly. 

"They want my son to go to prison, they want my son to suffer," Shore said 
of the school administration. "Because as far as they are concerned, they 
were supposed to get him a long time ago." 

Crowder maintains the arrest was a reasonable response. 

"For all of our seniors and their parents, we certainly regret that this 
unfortunate incident took place," Crowder said in an email 
statement. "However, based on the severity and nature of the actions by 
the student, we had no other recourse but to involve the authorities. It 
was the right thing for us to do under the circumstances. This isolated 
incident is not reflective of our school, our students, their families, or 
our community." 

Shore said that his son, who goes by Bryan, is a "problem child" who acts 
spontaneously, but that he is no criminal. 

"If giving the bird was a crime, you wouldn't be able to build enough 
prisons to house everyone; there would be repeat offenders on death row," 
Terry Shore said, incredulously. 

He is concerned that the incident will hurt his son, who hopes to join the 
Navy in the fall. He said the episode was a "mole hill made into a 
mountain," and has been mischaracterized by the local media. 
TheArabtribune.com reported that the younger Shore "took a swing" at the 
principal. But Crowder and school superintendent John Mullins, who was 
standing right next to him, denied that report. 

Regardless of the details of the incident, for the Shore family, who can 
now add the mug shot of their son in a graduation gown to the family 
album, the damage has already been done. 

"This was supposed to be the happiest day of Bryan's life," Terry Shore 
said of the graduation "It might never be over. We don't know how the 
community will react." 


Seeya at Farmers' Market, Moscow.

Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho

"We're a town of about 23,000 with 10,000 college students. The college 
students are not very active in local elections (thank goodness!)."

- Dale Courtney (March 28, 2007)

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