UPDATE: Parents upset over new policy for early graduates

UPDATE: Parents upset over new policy for early graduates

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Horry County Schools is applying a new policy this school year that has some parents less than enthused.

James Styron said his daughter has been earning high school credits at Socastee High School since eighth grade and will now be able to graduate early in January.

However, due to the school's new rules, he says he feels his daughter is now being punished for her hard work.

"Any of the students that are not doing the full term until the end of the year, they're not allowed to go to prom, they're not allowed to go on senior trip, they can't play senior sports. They're basically taking all the fun parts of being a senior out of the question." Styron said.

School officials sent out a newsletter the day before classes resumed to make parents aware of the change. They were encouraged to attend a meeting Thursday at Socastee High to ask any questions they had.

Styron said he and his wife have been saving for years to help pay for their daughter's senior trip, and he wished they had have received more notice about the changes.

"My daughter has a part- time job. Her mom is actually working at a job that actually helps pay for the cruise that she's not going on," he said.

One of the biggest changes could also affect where students go to college, and what scholarships they receive.

Students who finish school in January will no longer receive a class ranking, one of three main criteria colleges look for when accepting new students. Now, January graduates will have to rely solely on test scores and their GPA.

Horry County Schools officials said one of the reasons for the changes is that students can no longer be disciplined by the school after they officially finish classes, which is why prom and senior trips are out of the question.

Still, that did not stop some from saying this new policy could handicap their children's future.

"I mean, what's the reasoning? What has changed from years past to this year? And why all of a sudden? Why not some notice? That way we weren't just shocked like, oh no. I mean, no prom for my daughter? It was a privilege, and now it's more of a punishment." Styron said.

UPDATE: Horry County School Board Chairman Joe Defeo said on Friday that the new policy will be put on hold until further notice. He says the board did not approve the policy and therefore will not be implemented at any district schools for the time being. The policy will be brought up again when school board members go on a retreat in September.

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