HAUPPAUGE, NY, June 12, 2020: On Friday, June 12th, 2020, Legislator Kevin McCaffrey attended a rally declaring the support of local officials for the Class of 2020 and their ability to have a graduation ceremony. Other officials included Legislator Tom Cilmi, Riverhead Councilwoman Jodi Giglio, New York State Assemblymen Doug Smith, Anthony Palumbo, and Andrew Garbarino, New York State Senator Phil Boyle, and Riverhead Councilman Kevin LaValle, among others.
As per the most recent guidance from Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York State, graduation ceremonies are not to exceed 150 persons. This number includes students, families, faculty, and guests, and is far from practical.
As Chairman of the Education and Labor Committee, Legislator McCaffrey joined with Minority Leader Tom Cilmi to draft a letter from the Republican Caucus of the Suffolk County Legislator to Governor Cuomo urging him to reconsider his graduation ban. Legislator Cimli read from the letter during the rally.
The letter included the sentiment that many school districts have already planned safe ceremonies prior to the June 4th Guidance from the New York State Department of Health that then prohibited them. THE State of New York selectively enforces its stance that “large gatherings present a significant risk to individuals and communities,” and we ask that graduations be one of these exceptions.
Legislator McCaffrey stated: “The cost of getting to this low has been massive, and it has been our businesses, our families, and our students that have suffered the most. Students have faced curriculum changes and cancellations of sports and clubs, and the Class of 2020 has lost out on many of the festivities that make being a senior so special- namely proms, award banquets, and college orientations. Let’s not add graduation to that list.”
Prior to the rally on June 12th, Legislator McCaffrey attended a similar rally at the West Babylon Senior High School on June 7th. The Legislator joined dozens of students, staff, parents, and Board of Education members to take a stand against the New York State ban on traditional graduations.
Legislator McCaffrey discussed the issue with News 12 Long Island, where he reaffirmed his faith in our school districts to be able to plan a safe graduation ceremony. He also spoke on the need for immediate action from Governor Cuomo to allow for graduation ceremonies- this is not something for him to address when he feels he’s ready to in a few months.
Legislator McCaffrey represents Suffolk County’s 14th Legislative District which encompasses the Village of Lindenhurst, Babylon Village, the hamlets of West Babylon and North Lindenhurst, portions of Copiague, North Babylon and Babylon’s barrier beach communities.