South Carolina parents attending a high school graduation at the Florence Civic Center in South Florence last Saturday were warned in advance not to cheer for their children as they received their diplomas or they’d risk being thrown out of the ceremony.

Well, one particularly proud mother choose not heed the warning and cheered, anyway. And, boy, did she pay the price.

Shannon Cooper’s actions resulted in her being handcuffed and arrested, in addition to being escorted out of the event in front of other parents and her daughter, Iesha, 18.

Cooper claims all she did was cheer, “My baby made it, yes!” and such behavior got her accused of disorderly conduct. “Don’t scream, don’t cheer?,” Cooper asked incredulously after the fact. “I am thinking in my mind, I’m going to cheer. I went through too much to get her to this point. I can’t show my excitement? I can’t cheer? I can’t applaud? How can I not cheer for my child?”

As for the charge of disorderly conduct, Cooper said, “Disorderly conduct? What’s the disorderly conduct? How was I so disorderly, you know, any different from just a happy parent? I didn’t resist arrest, nothing.”

Cooper said she was humiliated and that her daughter found out her mother was being arrested when friends told her what was happening in the crowd. “They’re locking your momma up for cheering — and I was like that isn’t right because other people was cheering and they didn’t lock them up,” said Iesha.

Cooper waited in a police van parked outside the venue for 45 minutes after being removed from the building. She was then transported to the Florence County Detention Center. When Iesha saw her mother again, she broke down.

While Cooper contends that the day was ruined and that her daughter will always remember “my mama went to jail on my graduation day,” they did celebrate the next day with a barbeque and cake.

Local authorities would not speak about individual cases.

While Shannon Cooper was warned not to cheer and she flagrantly choose to ignore that request, we can’t help but think having her arrested was a bit excessive, especially after she was escorted out. She was simply cheering for her daughter during a rite of passage, not causing a commotion or demonstrating her political beliefs or verbally assaulting others.

[Carolina Live]

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