High School Student Taking Care of Mom with Cancer is Denied Graduation Walk

I was recently made aware of a news story in about a young man in OH, a senior in high school, who has been taking care of his terminally ill mother with cancer while keeping up his grades, holding a part time job, and participating sports, who now has been denied the right of the “Graduation Walk” due to too many absences.

If you agree that this seems unfair, please read the following petition letter and click on the link to sign the petition. This website is a “social change” organization, so while I do not agree with a number of the issues that they promote, there is an issue now and then that I do totally agree with. And, this is one of them.

Here’s the story:

Austin Fisher spent his senior year of high school getting good grades, playing for the baseball team, holding down two part-time jobs, and serving as caretaker for his mom, who has breast cancer. Now, Carrollton High School officials say that Austin can’t walk at his graduation because taking care of his mom caused too many absences.

Austin’s mom, Teresa, has had breast cancer for six years, and last year they found out that she was stage 4 — terminal. So Austin started acting as caretaker for his mom. “I missed a lot of school … running her to cancer treatments, staying home when she was in bed — it’s just me and her at the house,” Austin says.

Tammy White graduated from Austin’s high school, and she thinks it’s wrong that her alma mater would prevent Austin from walking at graduation just for taking care of his mom. So Tammy started a petition on Change.org demanding that the Carrollton school board allow Austin to walk.

There’s not much time — the school board meets tomorrow and could decide Austin’s fate then. Click here to sign Tammy’s petition.

Carrollton’s attendance guidelines are in place to prevent kids from cutting school, but Tammy thinks the school should take a look at how its rules affect kids like Austin, who take on extraordinary responsibilities outside school.

“He’s been my hero,” Austin’s mom Teresa says. “My rock.”

So far, more than 10,000 people have signed Tammy’s petition, and Austin’s story has been reported by CNN, FOX, and Yahoo! Sports. Carrollton’s school board is meeting tomorrow — with the support of thousands of people, Tammy hopes that Austin’s school will allow him to attend his graduation, honoring a kid who went above and beyond to help his sick mom.

Here’s the letter:

Allow Austin Fisher to walk and graduate with his 2012 class


I just signed the following petition addressed to: Carrollton Exempted Schools.

Allow Austin Fisher to walk and graduate with his 2012 class

I have included a copy of a letter written by Angela Howard to my hometown paper, http://www.freepressstandard.com

To the Editor:
The class of 2012 deserves some recognition for all of their support and compassion for a fellow student who will not be permitted to participate in graduation ceremonies in May. His classmates have rallied around him, offering their support. They have even gone as far as to circulate a petition asking that he be allowed to join them as they walk across the stage.

Austin Fisher is not a troublemaker nor does he have failing grades. This brave young man missed too many days of school caring for his sick mother and taking her to cancer treatments. Not every family has outside support.

The school board could learn a lot from these young men and women from the class of 2012. Board members were elected because we felt they could make good and right decisions for our school and its students. How is this decision right? Put yourselves in this family’s shoes. If you were the sick parent and your child missed too many days caring for you, wouldn’t you still want to see your child walk across the stage, especially after everything your family went through? Wouldn’t that give you something to look forward to?

The community needs to get behind this issue. It does take a village to look after our children. High school graduation is a once in a lifetime achievement and Carrollton Schools is taking this joyous and proud moment away from a cancer-stricken family who has already suffered so many hardships this year. It is just wrong.

Bless this family and please “Let Fish Walk.”

Angela Howard
Bowerston, OH



[Your name]

Here is the link to the story and where you can click and add your reason and signature to why you think he should be allowed this opportunity.


2 Responses

  1. If the students are seriously behind Austin, initiate a boycott. “If Austin doesn’t walk… Nobody walks!” Attend the ceremonies, but do not walk the stage. See if the Administration is willing to endure that public humiliation.

  2. I’ll gladly sign it, but I don’t see the link for the petition. Holly

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