Students, lawmakers putting pressure on Murphy to allow high school graduations

Students, lawmakers putting pressure on Murphy to allow high school graduations

Like countless other high school seniors across New Jersey, Isabella Ghanbary and her best friends and co-plaintiffs Arianna Wilent and Gina DiPasquale had been waiting for this moment for much, if not most, of their lives. “I feel like we’ve spent 12, 13 years kind of waiting to get to the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Ghanbary, 18, student-journalist, thespian and senior at Toms River High School East, who for as long as she can remember had been looking forward to the kind of graduation ceremony she’s seen in movies and TV. “And right now, for us, I kind of feel like we’re at the end but we’re all still in the dark." Ghanbary, Wilent and DiPasquale are plaintiffs in a lawsuit seeking to overturn a ban on in-person high school graduation ceremonies imposed May 8 by the state Department of Education. The education department’s ban stemmed from executive orders by Gov. Phil Murphy declaring a public health emergency over the coronavirus pandemic, barring large public gatherings, and, on May 4, keeping schools closed through the end of the academic year. “Had this decision been made across the board and no one was able to be doing anything else, it might at least feel like everyone was being treated equally,” Ghanbary said. “But to see that people are gong to be able to be out going to the beach and doing all these things, but we can’t have a graduation ceremony, it just doesn’t seem ...
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