Daverius Peters had just arrived to his school graduation ceremony in May when he wasn’t given permission to enter the center where it was held.
The 18-year-old graduate wore the mandatory purple cap and gown; however, as the school representative at the door told him, his ‘shoes were wrong’.
Peters later explained that she told them he violated the dress code and unless he changed the shoes he wore, she couldn’t let him in.
The senior at Hahnville in Boutte, La was supposed to wear dark shoes and not athletic ones according to the school’s dress code for graduations.
Senior Couldn’t Enter His Graduation unless He Changed His Shoes
Peters had come wearing black leather sneakers and white soles, which didn’t agree with the school’s dress code.
He said he thought they were suitable because of their black color; he added he had abided to all other guidelines, including a white dress shirt, a tie, and dark pants.
He was shocked to be informed that he couldn’t enter and recalls feeling humiliated. He just wanted to go in and get his diploma.
He started to panic and imagined what his parents would think if he couldn’t go in. With only a couple of minutes before the ceremony’s start, he had no time to visit a store and buy new shoes.
While pacing nervously outside, he saw a familiar face, one John Butler. He’s a 38-year-old paraeducator at his school and mentors a lot of students, including Peters.
He came to the ceremony as a parent, not as staff member, because his daughter was also graduating.
Peters went to Butler and told him everything about the shoes. He thought there’s nothing eccentric about Peters’ shoes and tried to see if the representative of the school would let this go.
However, he wasn’t successful and she was determined not to allow Peters to enter.
Butler Finds a Different Solution
Without any hesitation at all, Butler bent down and took off his shoes and gave him to Peters. He later said this was the boy’s most important life event until that point and he didn’t want him to miss it for anything in the world.
But, there was one issue: the boy wears a size 9 whereas his shoes were a size 11. But, Peters put them on regardless of the size difference. Just as the doors were about to close, Peters went in, as well as Butler.
He went to his seat wearing only socks. People were staring due to his lack of shoes, but he didn’t care. He said he was happy just to see Peters receive his diploma on stage.
Peters later explained how big the shoes were and that he was struggling to walk.
The audience that included Peters’s family were surprised by his shoes. His mom, Jima Smith remembers whispering to her family: ‘wait a minute, whose shoes does he have on?’
After the ceremony ended, Peters returned the shoes to Butler and thanked him once more. He added that he wasn’t surprised by Butler’s kindness because he’s just that type of person.
When they had bad days at school, Butler would often take them out of class and talk to them if the students feel like talking.
Something Has to Change about the Strict Dress Code of the School
Despite everything working out in the end, Butler explained this story underscored the critical dress code requirements of the school.
He believes that a thing as small as the shoes you’re wearing shouldn’t be an obstacle to allow a child to experience an important moment.
Therefore, he plans to meet up with the administrators of the school in order to review their guidelines for the next ceremonies. He believes this demands a thorough discussion.