High schooler’s diploma withheld after he Tebows on stage during commencement

A silly stunt by a senior at a high school in Florida resulted in swift punishment and the withholding of his diploma after he Tebowed during the school’s commencement ceremony.

During the graduation ceremony at Bishop Verot, a Catholic high school located in Fort Myers, Fla., senior Chuck Shriner struck the pose, made famous by New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow last season when he was with the Broncos, as he crossed the stage and approached the school’s principal. Despite the laughter and applause from those in attendance, Shriner’s diploma was withheld from him and he received the punishment of having to clean the school’s gymnasium, the location of the graduation ceremony.

Shriner had no idea his little joke — which he admitted he did on a dare and for $5 (although insisting he would have done it regardless of the paltry financial compensation) — would cause such a stir. And such a punishment, saying, “”I just thought it was fun” and adding, “I was just doing it to make graduation memorable.”

Later that day, Shriner posted the following message on his Facebook page a message that showed he had no regrets for his impromptu pose: “Moment in my life I’ll never forget, getting my diploma taken away for doing the Tebow on stage in front of (Principal John) Cavell. So worth it.”

According to Shriner, officials at the school told him that the harsh punishment and withholding of Shriner’s diploma was the school’s attempt to dissuade future graduating classes from pulling the same or different stunts:

“They said what I did would give underclassmen inspiration to do something else, that it might lead to something else,” Shriner said about the administration’s reaction. “So they were trying to set an example.”

School officials informed Shriner that they will consider giving his diploma to his mother. Fair enough, right? But here’s where the story takes a bizarre turn: the idea of the punishment came from Shriner’s mother, who happens to be a math teacher at the high school. Harsh.

Shriner’s mother eventually picked up her son’s diploma on his behalf, but Shriner told the Naples News after cleaning the gym on Monday that his mom was still “really mad,” but even with his mother coming down hard on him for his Tebowing, maintained that “it was worth it.” Good for you, kid. And at least his mother can take solace in the fact that he didn’t take a cardboard cutout as his date to prom, right? Imagine the controversy that would have erupted from that stunt. Yikes.

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  1. bob s

    May 22, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    to harsh a punishment for just tebowing on stage, give me a break what harm did it cost, underclassmem will do silly stunts every year. I would have told them to keep the diploma and put it were the sun dont shine. as long as it is on record of him graduating receiving diploma means nothing

    • teresa

      May 22, 2012 at 4:40 pm

      sorry stupid, supposed to be an adult

      • kyle

        May 22, 2012 at 6:07 pm

        stay in your home teresa. Florida is all messed up. A swift kick to the principals gonads would have been appropreate to make him drop it . and I would have got a laywer and sue the as-hole for interfearing with my thanking the lord for me making it out of high school This T-bowing is nothing more than a person thanking god in one way or another. what do people think it means! DUH!

        One last thing Teresa….Hiel Hitler! freaking Nazi Principal. And one is not really concitered to be an adult until they are of drinking age.Just out of high School does not make one an adult

        • Betsy

          July 28, 2012 at 6:33 pm

          Don’t tell me, Kyle. You’re still waiting to pass an English test to get your diploma!

      • Seer

        May 30, 2012 at 12:15 pm

        Let me see Bob… it is too, not “to,” as in “to harsh.” Then, it is doesn’t with an apostrophe instead of “dont” without one. And, the grammar and punctuation throughout your post really needs help. Education and diplomas matter; not just having fun. Try to get one or both.

    • tudball

      May 22, 2012 at 6:16 pm

      This punishment came from a Catholic School? I think the school should be punished. Freedom of speech rule should apply here. If I had a student going there he would be out of there. A show of faith at a religious school should not bring on punishment like that.

      • stan j

        July 21, 2012 at 11:45 am

        You don’t get it! Your “student” wouldn’t be bright enough to go there.

    • Bob J

      June 27, 2012 at 10:13 pm

      A diploma is a legal document. Since you can’t spell, write a proper sentence, or use punctuation, I’m guessing you never got your own diploma.

  2. VanDizzle

    May 22, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    A school’s one last power trip. I took my final exams, I received passing grades, I’ve graduated… to be honest, I dont even want to be here, I want to be out drinking some brews with my boys and possibly getting laid, but my parents made me come to this crap, which is fair, they paid for this school… you officially have NO MORE POWER over me… give me my dumb piece of paper so my parents and I can take pictures with it, then i can shove in a box in the garage and never see it again.

    Highschools are rediculous… its not like anyone frames their high school diploma and hangs it on the wall… and if you do, it probably goes nicely with your AA Degree that took 6 years to get.

  3. Capman

    May 22, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Okay, the kid broke the rules, got punished and ‘paid’ the price. He found the antic worth it. I’m not for or against what he did, but to say the school is on a ‘power trip’ or that they have ‘no more power over me’ is a little much.

    I like how VanDizzle is talking about hanging a diploma next to an AA degree, but earlier said how he’d rather ‘be out drinking some brews’. Speaking from experience champ?

    Oh, and maybe if you knew that ridiculous isn’t spelled the way it sounds, you’d have more appreciation for the education you allegedly have. That may be the beer speaking, but maybe you can ask your boys (to be fair though, I get the impression your boys was a reference to the ole’ family jewels).

    So what’s over the line? Who judges that? What should the punishment be? In typical fashion for people in non-decision jobs/roles in life, people like to sound off on how everyone else are idiots and point out what’s wrong, while offering no solutions. Here’s my solution for the idiots, invest in birth control methods for yourself.

    • Beancounter

      May 23, 2012 at 1:25 pm

      Best post here… and only rational one. Life just seems to be a big joke to most here. Time and place.

  4. JTizzle

    May 22, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    The kid went down to a knee, the kid did his fours years of High School. Let him do what he wants as long as hes not streaking across the stage or killing someone. This all steams from people trying to control these kids. They were not trying to make an example for kids down the road. Its a power trip at the moment, end of story.

    As far as the kids mother, she is another piece of work. Any parent who doesn’t back their child on this HS graduation stunt that is harmless and takes the schools side is a not a good parent

    • bzball1

      May 22, 2012 at 5:46 pm

      How can you say that his mother is “not a good parent’? You are as clueless as you are accusing the school and mother of being. You don’t know it is a power trip. It is a Catholic school, probably private and they have their standards. Just because there are standards does not mean it is bad. Many students are in private schools because they have standards.

    • kyle

      May 22, 2012 at 6:13 pm

      Agreed !

    • seesee

      May 23, 2012 at 11:18 am

      I also feel the mother should have been more supportive. Geez, you’d think he stripped in front of the whole graduating class, or something more drastic. I wasn’t that big of a deal. From what I read, the punishment was the mother’s idea. She needs to lighten up and stand by her son. It was completely harmles and probably lasted a number of seconds. Big deal. Those of you supporting mom’s actions probably also believe in corporal punishment and are just as harsh on your own kids. Sad.

  5. Brother Timothy

    May 22, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    The student shouldn’t have done it. At the same time the foolish one are those that refused to give him his diploma. When the young man did go down on one knee. It should remind us all that the Holy Bible says that every knee shall bow Romans 14:11 If I had done the same thing back in 1979 of course that was before Tim Tebow . At my graduation we had prayer. At my school I was part of a Christian news paper. I brought a bible to school guess what the teachers did also.
    Give him back his diploma he deserved it. I am sure that there are some good lawyers that would love to take the case.

    check out my blog. http://www.enoughhomeless.blog.com

  6. Otis R. Needleman

    May 22, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    Just a harmless prank. The school overreacted. If I were the student I’d take the punishment, which he already has, and walked away, never to donate a penny to such a concentration camp as an alumnus. Sounds like he doesn’t have much respect for the school’s administration anyway.

  7. Just an observer

    May 22, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    Power trip? Nazis? Bad parents? Please. If the student couldn’t figure out in the previous years that the private, religious school may have had a few extra rules, and higher expectations of their students, then he doesn’t deserve the diploma.

    Graduating from college or high school doesn’t entitle you to make a spectacle of yourself, take away from the school’s higher expectation of decorum than at a public school graduation, or make the ceremony about you. The student’s own mother agreed with it. Hopefully the students learned a life lesson here.

    How about a crotch grab? A couple pelvic thrusts? Would that have been cool enough for you guys? Maybe snap some towels on stage? A lawsuit? Really? Grow up people.

    • John

      May 22, 2012 at 9:17 pm

      You don’t have the ability to distinguish between a brief kneel on stage — something that has already been established as an incredibly tame and harmless piece of pop culture — and a crotch grab/pelvic thrust?

      By your logic, they should have revoked his diploma if he flashed a peace sign. Don’t tell others to grow up when your perspective on life is that narrow.

    • Alan

      May 23, 2012 at 6:21 am

      Oh yes. Tebowing. The gateway gesture for crotch grabs and pelvic thrusts. And from there, it’s only a matter of time before there’s towel snapping on stage. Best to nip it in the bud.

  8. MoonBaseHalo

    May 23, 2012 at 7:30 am

    Imagine, a kid having fun at his graduation. Had he been my child, I would have told the principal to shove the diploma up his\her puckered a#@. No way my child would have cleaned the gym floor either.

  9. Robbie

    May 23, 2012 at 11:38 am

    Having gone to Catholic schools from K-12 (my HS was a Catholic military school), I agree with poster’s comment about “a school’s one last power trip.”
    Parochial schools are notorious for not having ANY sense of humor.

    And Sr. Veronica Mary said I wouldn’t amount to anything!

  10. Mary (Cassel) Fake

    May 24, 2012 at 10:11 am

    Has everyone in our country lost their minds, or are we just forgetting that the United States of America is founded on God. Yes. I said it. The United States of America is founded on God.

    Our pledge of allegience states, “one nation under God.” Our money says, “In God We Trust.”

    We may not have been here ourselves when this country was founded, or when it grew several years ago, but our ancestors were.

    Guess what!……They founded it, but it is our job to uphold it. Not to turn it into a free for all!

    We’re not saying that you cannot worship the way you choose, or that you have to worship at all. We are saying that you have not right to take away the foundation of our United States of America! We are saying that you have no right to mute our countries foundation, or our right to pray, read the bible or say the pledge of alligence in public.

    IF YOU DO NOT LIKE IT, then you have come to the wrong country! We are partially to blame, for not making this crystal clear before we allowed you to become a “United States citizen.”

    If you were born and raised here, but do not like it, you have the option to practice or not practice a religion of your choosing, or to choose to live in another country.

    No one has the right to change or take away this country’s foundation.

    To the school that punished this student: Shame on you!

    I am praying for each and every american citizen in an effort to help keep our country strong on it’s foundation.

    • Kevin

      May 30, 2012 at 12:46 am

      Give me a break. You thin-skinned holier-than-thou people are getting really irritating.

      The kid was not punished for praying…nor did he even do it as a prayer. He did it two tweak an authority figure (the principal) and draw attention to himself. it was as a prank on a dare. He said so himself. So he got a little slap on the wrist and his mother, a teacher, not only agreed but suggested it! He still got his diploma and graduated.

      Lighten up.

  11. daniel

    May 30, 2012 at 9:07 am

    I bet if stupid teachers and administrators could be fired we would have a much better level of education. If a person can’t be held responsible for their actions it doesn’t take long for poor results..Power corrupts and complete power corrupts completely !! No one has the right to keep a job if they aren’t performing or are not qualified for it. The taxpayers are paying for quality education and are getting very poor results. Unions were needed at one time but have destroyed every company or business they come in contact with.Union employees won’t compete with charter or private schools because their best doesn’t gert our students ready to compete in today’s world. Name one businss that has gotten better because they are union. Steel, no, automotive, no, teacher union, no, on and on.

  12. valhalla

    May 30, 2012 at 9:31 am

    I don’t know how many of you are aware, but he could have tripped someone behind him. There is a line of students waiting for their name to be called and walked up. What if he would have bumped the person behind him. That is most likely why he got in trouble. I am glad he got in trouble. This is not a freedom of speech deal, he attended a religious school. This tebowing crap is and has been out of control. Would you feel the same if someone did something in the name of Buddha or Allah? Seriously, it would be a problem.

  13. Mary

    May 30, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    While the punishment does seem a bit harsh, I commend the school for having standards. I think they are trying to maintiain commencement ceremonies as something of import, with dignity and grace. There is none of that when graduates are displaying all kinds of antics. Almost everything in America is now being debased and we have no reverance for anything ceremonial. Save the display for the graduation party and let the commencement ceremony be something with class and dignity.

    • Sandra

      July 28, 2012 at 11:25 pm

      Great post, Mary. Yours is a voice of maturity and reason amid a sea of selfishness and juvenile expressions of rebellion against authority.

  14. Wayne

    May 30, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Is that legal to hold back his diploma and make him do manual labor just because they wanted to punish him and set an example? Hmmmm

  15. Brian

    June 2, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    omg … ” what I did would give underclassmen inspiration to do something else …”

    Good thinking school administration, because until now it has never occurred to anyone, anywhere to stunt or prank during a graduation.

  16. Spindeep

    July 17, 2012 at 8:15 am

    It is amazing how everyone screams for freedom of speech or freedom of expression until it OFENDS them in some way. Artist’s have the right to burn the flag, writers can slant any story to the left or the right be protected, gays and lesbians can parade half naked (and sometimes completely naked) at their so called pride parades, but a young man kneeling to praise God as a show of thankfulness (whether on a dare or not) gets punished. When will the attacks on those who try and uphold some sort of moral standards in their lives be just as equal under the freedom of speech laws.

  17. Scott

    August 1, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    I am curious as to why this is a hot topic two months plus after the fact. I am making preps for my son to start a new school year. Let it go people. Just let go

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