‘Just Doing My Part’: Teacher Gives His Shoes to Senior Banned From Graduation for Wearing Sneakers

When a Louisiana senior was told he couldn’t attend his graduation ceremony because the shoes he wore didn’t meet the dress code, one educator stepped up to ensure he didn’t miss out on the big day.

Daverius Peters was looking forward to graduating from Hahnville High School in Boutte on May 19. He arrived at the celebration but was stopped by a school representative who pointed out that his shoes weren’t traditional dress shoes, The Washington Post reports.

“She said my shoes violated the dress code and I couldn’t attend the ceremony unless I changed them,” the 18-year-old explained. “I was in shock. I felt humiliated. I just wanted to walk across the stage and get my diploma.”

As he tried to figure out a quick solution, Peters noticed John Butler, a paraeducator at the school who mentors many students. 

Butler’s daughter was also graduating that day. Peters explained the situation and hoped that he’d have an answer.

“That sounded crazy to me,” Butler said of the student being banned from his own graduation. “There was nothing eccentric about his shoes.”

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Butler approached the staff member who wouldn’t allow Peters to pass. “She insisted on not letting this young man in, and I didn’t have time to go back and forth with her,” he explained

Without a second thought, Butler took his shoes off and gave them to Peters.

“It was a no-brainer,” the teacher said. “This was the most important moment in his life up to that point, and I wasn’t going to let him miss it for anything.”

Even though the shoes were a little big, the eager graduate slipped them on and made his way to the stage.

“The shoes were so big. I couldn’t even walk. I was sliding,” Peters pointed out.

But the young man wasn’t shocked by the good deed because Butler “is that type of person.”

“At school, if you’re having a bad day, he’ll be the one to take you out of class, walk around the school with you and talk to you,” he added.

Butler said he planned to meet with school officials so this type of incident doesn’t happen again.

“Something that small shouldn’t rob a kid from experiencing this major moment. It’s something that needs to be thoroughly discussed.”

Naturally, Peters’ parents were upset but grateful that Butler saved the day.

“If it wasn’t for Mr. Butler’s kind and thoughtful act, my child would have been sitting outside, and I wouldn’t have known,” said Peters’ mother, Jima Smith. “I pray he will continue to work in the public school system because we need more teachers like him. Our young Black men need good role models and mentors like Mr. Butler.”

“I was just doing my part. I didn’t think much of it,” Butler noted.

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