Petition started by local mom for graduation ceremony collects 11K signatures

SPOKANE, Wash. — More than 11,000 people have signed an online petition, asking Governor Inslee to let the Class of 2020 graduate with their friends and family, outdoors. 

It was started by a Central Valley High School mom. The petition is getting support from all corners of the state, but with time running out, will it make a difference? 

“I feel compassionate for all of the seniors, not just my daughter,” said Brenda Grassel. 

She never thought she’d have to create a petition to let her daughter, and other Class of 2020 students, walk at graduation. 

“There were tears and we just realized she was going to miss graduating with her class,” said Grassel. 

She never thought it would get this much attention. 

“I was hoping for 2,000 or 3,000 and the first night we had 1,000 already,” said Grassel. 

Now, one week later, the petition has more than 10,000 signatures, asking Gov. Jay Inslee and the State Department of Health to let school districts make their own decisions about graduation ceremonies. 

“There’s so many symbolic meanings of putting on the cap and gown and doing a drive by or a zoom virtual meeting is just not the same,” said Grassel. 

Sophie, a senior at Central Valley, and her mom think a formal ceremony can still happen outside on the football field. 

“The students could sit 6-feet apart from each other on chairs and just that the immediate family would be allowed to come,” said Grassel. 

The Governor says it’s still not safe for large gatherings, which aren’t allowed until phase 4. Grassel says if that’s the case, it’s not fair that companies like Boeing and Amazon are allowed to have hundreds of employees in the same building. 

“I will be sending a formal link to the petition and stating our case,” said Grassel. “We need to make some noise and you have to get in front of the decision makers.”

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