TRENTON, N.J. – Reconsidering his ban on in-person graduation, Gov. Phil Murphy finally decided to listen to New Jerseyans to allow in-person graduation ceremonies, albeit six weeks from now.
Assemblyman Jay Webber has been at the forefront of the “Let them walk” battle because he understands how important this milestone is for New Jersey’s high school seniors.
“It is good to see that Governor Murphy has arrived at the right answer on graduation ceremonies by finally reversing his irrational order against in-person graduations for our high school seniors,” said Webber (R-Morris). “Especially these days, when we all could use something to celebrate, high school graduations as we have come to know them can go on safely and the accomplishments of our state’s graduating classes can be recognized and honored appropriately. In the process, so many of our 18-year-old citizens discovered that concerted public action – smartly, passionately and persuasively carried out – can achieve great things. Our high school seniors deserve all the credit for fighting for this, which should make their unique graduation ceremonies even sweeter.”
However, Murphy’s seemingly arbitrary selection of July 6 for the start of commencement season raised as many questions as it answered said Webber.
“If ‘data determines dates,’ as the governor so often says, then he has failed to give any data to justify that July 6th is the right date for graduations,” continued Webber. “It makes no sense. Smart, properly spaced, in-person graduations can occur safely now, and should. The governor can’t even let the kids walk without reminding everyone that his, and only his, preferences trump everything else.”
Public support for modified commencement ceremonies has been substantial.
Various online petitions to allow graduation ceremonies, including several started by students themselves, have amassed about 100,000 signatures.
A resolution (AR162) introduced by Assemblyman Jay Webber urging Gov. Phil Murphy to allow high school graduation ceremonies garnered bipartisan support and sponsorship, including Assemblywomen Annette Chaparro (D-Hudson), Serena DiMaso (R-Monmouth), Aura Dunn (R-Morris), Holly Schepisi (R-Bergen) and Jean Stanfield (R-Burlington), and Assemblymen John Catalano (R-Ocean), John DiMaio (R-Hunterdon), Christopher DePhillips (R-Bergen), Jamel Holley (D-Union), Greg McGuckin (R-Ocean), Ryan Peters (R-Burlington), Erik Peterson (R-Hunterdon), Kevin J. Rooney (R-Bergen), Gerry Scharfenberger (R-Monmouth), and Hal Wirths (R-Sussex).