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I’ve heard of “‘tis the season to be jolly,” but I’ve never heard of “‘tis the season to be anal.”


Until now.


Shannon Cooper of South Carolina knows all about this season, and the folks who have gone anal. She now has an arrest record that shows how anal they are.


Here’s what happened to Cooper, as recounted in a June 5 New York Daily News story:


“Beach balls and bullhorns are commonly banned from graduation ceremonies, but some schools also want to silence the screaming – going so far as to have overzealous audience members arrested.


“That’s what reportedly happened to South Carolina mom Shannon Cooper, who was accused of whooping so loudly during her daughter’s high school graduation Saturday night that cops charged her with disorderly conduct and placed her in a detention center.”


What? Cooper couldn’t have been the only one “cheering loudly.” Did cops arrest all those that “cheered loudly” and place them in detention centers, or was it just Cooper?


Cooper’s daughter, Iesha Cooper, might have provided the answer. Iesha said that she didn’t know her mother was being arrested until some friends told her.


“(They told me) ‘they’re locking your mom up for cheering,’” Iesha told a reporter from WPDE, a television station in Myrtle Beach, S.C. “And I was like ‘that isn’t right because other people was cheering and they didn’t lock them up.’”


In the New York Daily News story Shannon Cooper said “she didn’t act any differently than other families when their children’s names were called during the South Florence High School ceremony.”


If what Shannon and Iesha Cooper said is true, then we see immediately the problem with either arresting people or booting them out of graduation ceremonies for “excessive celebrating” or “excessive cheering.”


Here’s the first problem: define “excessive.”


Applause? Shouting? Lots of shouting? Lots of LOUD shouting? And how much is a lot?


Here’s the second problem: how many people, exactly, are police prepared to arrest? Won’t that clog the jails and prevent cops from giving their attention to more serious problems?


I don’t know what kind of town Shannon and Iesha Cooper live in. It might be one of those hick towns common to the South. But this could never have happened in Baltimore.


Can you imagine cops in the city nicknamed – and appropriately, I’m ashamed to add – “Bodymore, Murderland” arresting someone for cheering at a graduation ceremony?


The first thing the person arrested would ask the cops is,” Seriously, don’t you guys have more important things to do? Murderers to track down, drug dealers to arrest?”


Apparently it’s not just anal season in South Carolina. In Mount Healthy, Ohio – sounds like another hick town to me – Anthony Cornist walked across the stage, graduated from Mount Healthy Junior-Senior High School and didn’t get his diploma. Why?


School officials held it up. His guests displayed “excessive cheering” after his name was called. Members of Cornist’s family say it wasn’t only his guests that cheered; other students and some teachers also cheered as well.


That might be the case. Cornist played football for Mount Healthy, and Ohio is one of those states where high school football is almost a religion. (Much like parts of western Pennsylvania and almost any Southern state.)


Mount Healthy school district officials said that, in order for Cornist to receive his diploma, either he or one of his family members will have to perform 20 hours of community service.


These anal retentive people in South Carolina and Ohio need to lighten up. I’ve attended plenty of graduation ceremonies, and here’s what I’ve come to expect.


Someone from the school system will give the standard spiel about attendees observing proper decorum during the graduation ceremony.


“Please wait until ALL the names have been read, and then applaud,” they’ll announce.


“Yeah, like THAT will happen,” I usually say. Then I rub my hands, lick my lips and wait to see which student’s guests will be the first to break the rule.


And I have no problem with “excessive cheering” or “excessive celebration.” If graduating high school is the big deal school officials say it is – and they claim it’s a VERY big deal – then why shouldn’t it be celebrated with cheering?


Parents and guests of graduating students can do handstands and back flips for all I care. If they broke out and danced the Funky Chicken or the Stanky Leg, I wouldn’t mind that either.


High school graduation ceremonies are supposed to be joyous affairs. It’s time school officials stopped treating them like they’re funerals.