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Honor Song Will Not Be Played At Graduation

December 9, 2013, 10:20 PM by Jared Ransom

Honor Song Will Not Be Played At Graduation
CHAMBERLAIN, SD -

A Native American song has taken center stage in the Chamberlain School District.

Some people feel an honor song should be included at graduation ceremonies. On Monday night, the debate went before the school board.

It was a result most people expected to hear, but it still comes with some controversy. The school board for the Chamberlain School District voted against allowing the honor song at this year's graduation ceremony.

Months of division and frustration led the district to once again vote on whether or not to allow a Native American honor song at the upcoming spring graduation.

"The problem is this issue has become an adult problem and the adults are not listening to one another anymore. The adults are actually getting in the way of solving the issue," honor song supporter Mike Tyrell said.

Many of those at Monday night's school board meeting spoke in favor of including the song.

"As the high school principal and leader of our high school, I am in support of an honor song at graduation. That question has never been asked of me as a principal, I'm here tonight to tell you that," Chamberlain High School Principal Allan Bertram said.

Then, the decision went back to the school board.

"If the majority of you wanted something, and it is good for this community, that is something that I would do and vote on," Chamberlain School Board Member Marcel Felicia said.

"The focus needs to be on our students. This agenda item has been exhausted and after tonight, it's done," Chamberlain School Board President Rebecca Reimer said.

The vote was two to four with one abstention; keeping the graduation ceremony as it is, with no honor song.

"I assumed that it would turn out this way. This has been four years in the making. The pulse in the community tells me that this isn't something they're ready for yet," honor song supporter James Caldwell said.
 
Even though the vote Monday night did not go their way, supporters feel that the tide might be turning and that in years to come, the honor song may be at future graduation ceremonies.

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