The principal of Philadelphia High School for Girls, Lisa Mesi, was replaced after withholding diplomas from students who danced at graduation.
Tomás Hanna, the Philadelphia School District Associate Superintendent, mentioned a “temporary change in leadership” in a letter addressed to the school community, reported the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Janis Butler is now the substitute principal.
“Dr. Butler is excited to support the school community to help set the stage for a successful 2023-2024 school year,” Hanna wrote.
No information was shared surrounding the circumstances of Mesi leaving or whether she will be returning to her role.
“While this is the only information I can share at this time, I am committed to providing updates as additional information becomes available,” Hanna wrote.
The news comes after Hafsah Abdur-Rahman, a 17-year-old student, was denied her diploma after she danced during the school’s graduation ceremony on June 9. The principal had forbidden students and their families to cheer or clap as they walked across the stage.
“I was so embarrassed. I couldn’t even enjoy the rest of the graduation,” she previously said.
Abdur-Rahman was among three other girls who were denied their diplomas. They were handed their diplomas once the ceremony concluded.
“If they thought that I shouldn’t do ‘The Griddy’ across the stage and do the Girls’ High traditions, nobody should have been able to wave or blow kisses or do period signs because I feel like that’s the same thing. I feel like that’s unfair,” Abdur-Rahman added.
The School District of Philadelphia called out the incident.
“The District does not condone the withholding of earned diplomas based on family members cheering for their graduates. We apologize to all the families and graduates who were impacted and are further looking into this matter to avoid it happening in the future,” the statement.