ALBANY, GA (WALB) - There was confusion and anger when controversy erupted outside the Albany Tech Spring Commencement Thursday night.
Dozens of students and parents were upset after not being able to walk in the graduation ceremony.
What we found out was the student's in question were Paxen Learning Center GED students, not Albany Tech GED graduates.
In confusion, the Paxen parents and students were led to believe they could walk in the graduation ceremony.
But when they tried to line up, Albany Tech staff told them they could not, because they did not attend the college.
"Because we did not attend Albany Tech because we attended Paxen, we couldn't walk in their graduation," said Paxen GED graduate Sonjteria Goude.
"They're crying and their upset because this is a milestone they can't get back, said Sonjteria Goude's mom, Sonya Goude.
"This is disappointing for me too, I know it's more disappointing for the parents and the students but our partners in this case didn't comply with the requirements that we communicated that they should," said ATC President Dr. Anthony Parker.
Parents took matters into their hands and had the students march in Veteran's Park.
Dr. Parker said this issue happened during the 2016 Fall ceremony where Paxen students came to walk in Albany Tech's graduation.
He did allow the students to participate but later communicated to Paxen staff explaining ATC's adult education requirements which include:
- being documented as an Albany Tech student
- attending the college for a certain amount of hours
- showing academic progress
Dr. Parker also said anyone who wants to attend Albany Tech is welcome, and they'll do everything they can to assist and support them.
When WALB arrived, we spoke to a Paxen representative who declined to comment and said that the institution was working things out.
Dr. Parker said he planned to reach out to Paxen staff to discuss the ATC's adult education graduation requirements.
And he'll also reach out to all of the Paxen students who couldn't participate in Thursday's commencement.
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