Family Says Students Denied Graduation After Curriculum Error

HOLLAND, Mich. (June 6, 2014) – Austin Boshell was just four days away from graduating, but now that has all changed.

“The graduation that I thought I earned and I thought I deserved but apparently not,” Austin said.

Austin and his family are devastated after they say they were called to V.R. Tech, an alternative school in the Holland Public Schools District, and told that a teacher’s mistake is jeopardizing the future of Austin and other students.​

Austin says the school made the graduation announcement and even gave him a cake on his last day.

His grandfather says they were told the principal and supervisor of education were not familiar with Holland Schools because they had only been at the school this year.

The family says they were told an audit had been done and the school had realized Austin had to take classes to graduate - courses they say he was previously told were not part of his curriculum.

“I never had the classes put into my curriculum at all,” Austin said.

The sheet of Austin’s diploma requirements says “N/A” next to the classes he was previously told he didn’t need to take.  Austin says they principal highlighted those classes a the ones preventing him from graduating.

The family says they were also told the teacher responsible for the alleged mistake has been fired.

“We`ve tried so hard to raise these kids for seven years to graduate,” grandfather Robert Kladder said through tears.

High school graduation is a huge accomplishment for every graduate but even more for Austin.

“We adopted him because his mother was unfit, him and his sister.  This has been a long process and this is a big accomplishment for him,” grandmother Nena Cladder said.

We reached out to several people with Holland Public Schools searching for answers.  Communications Coordinator Tom Page said there wasn’t enough information to respond to our questions and that privacy laws prevented him from confirming there was a possible investigation.

Numerous calls to Superintendent Brian Davis and Principal Paula DeRoos were not returned and faculty outside V.R. Tech refused to answer questions because “the school day was over.”

“We`re still gonna throw him a party because even if it takes all summer he`s still gonna graduate,” Nena said.

Open house invitations have already been sent for his graduation party but Austin just wants to walk at commencement.  For him, it’s a onetime shot before heading to college in the fall for cinematography.

“I`ve had a hard life and I wanna touch people in ways that I can reach 100`s of people in one thing than a few people now,” Austin said.

Austin’s family hopes the school will change their mind about letting him walk at graduation and hold off on giving him his diploma until those final classes are complete.​

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6 comments

  • Judy

    What a way to pass the buck. The principal and supervisor of education were not familiar with the school because they had only been there this year?? What exactly is their job? It sounds to me like they should be standing in the unemployment line with the teacher. This kid worked hard to get to graduation and he should be allowed to walk with his class. This was not his fault. When he completes the class then give him his diploma but do not deny him the right to walk with his class. It sounds to me like this community needs to get behind this family and support them 110%.

  • H g

    Newaygo public schools did something similar to my daughter last year. She was sick the last few days of her sophomore year and had to return to summer school to take her exams. Well no one ever turned them in or the school simply lost them. They didn't tell us this until she was a senior and then said she had to take the entire classes over. I fought them on it, but my daughter agreed to retake one of the classes against my wishes. The school never got my okay as her parent on this and then a few days before graduation we were told "she can't graduate". She had never finished this online version of the class they were making her retake. She was invited to honors banquet, we bought graduation announcements and a cap and gown through the school, had a hall booked for her grad party 2 days after graduation and relatives coming from all over the country. I fought the school until the principle gave the okay for her to graduate. They have done this to other students as well and always the week of graduation.

  • kenr

    But just ask them ………..they care for these children so much, but won't lift a finger to right a wrong perpetrated by the school.
    Please someone list the phone number of the school and extension to the principle so we can all tell him what he needs to hear

  • Judy

    If someone were to do some searching it shouldn't be too hard to find the phone number for this school. It is in the Holland School District….Like I said before. The community needs to step up and come forward and support these students who are not being allowed to walk for graduation. This was not the students fault, it was the administrations fault and they are passing the buck to try to save face…

  • MeNoDo

    Congrat's to the young man! Don't throw the administration to the wolves on this. The righted it; Jt because they are new to the administration, doesn't mean they are at fault. They are working off guidelines and were hired because of a mess that was created prior.