S.D. student who fought cancer will be allowed at grad ceremony

Meredith Erck, the Rapid City, S.D., senior who wanted to walk with her friends at what would have been her commencement had she not been battling cancer, will walk with her friends after all.

Her school district has reversed its previous denial, the Rapid City Journal reports today.

Earlier this week, the district said allowing her to participate with her class would cheapen the value of the degrees being bestowed on her high school’s seniors.

In reversing the decision, the district cited the outpouring of support for her after her story went public.

“After being told ‘no’ for three times in a week’s time, she decided it was time to speak up, tell her story and hopefully make some changes in policy in school districts so that other children who are ill, have to go through five surgeries in two and a half years, can be changes made in the policies to accommodate other children,” Sue Polanco, the girl’s grandmother, tells South Dakota Public Broadcasting.

“Not all decisions are black and white,” district superintendent Dr. Lori Simon said. “Not everyone agrees on one side of the issue or another. I think this is a situation where we had to look at it on an individual basis. I think, moving forward, any policy… we need to think through those pieces really carefully to see if we can provide a little more guidance for these kinds of exceptional situations.”

The commencement will be held on Sunday.