A mother in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina was arrested last week, because she cheered too loudly, as her daughter walked across the stage to receive her high school diploma.
Shannon Cooper was handcuffed at the South Florence High School graduation ceremony and charged with disorderly conduct. She was taken to a jail cell, where she remained until she posted a $225-bond.
School officials had announced before the ceremony that anyone cheering or screaming for those graduating would be escorted from the building.
Despite its announcement, we believe that the Myrtle Beach School Department overstepped its bounds by having the Myrtle Beach Police Department arrest, handcuff, and jail Cooper. At the very most, the police should have escorted her outside the building -- as announced before the ceremony -- for her loud cheering.
To have handcuffed Cooper and taken her to jail was much too severe a punishment -- in fact, an unreasonable punishment -- for her loud cheering.
Indeed, this "solution to the problem" reminds us of the type of "solution" that would be used in a totalitarian country, such as Communist China and the former Soviet Union, but not in a free nation like the United States.
The arrest is also an insult to the framers of the U.S. Constitution, who worked so hard to ensure that Americans would maintain their freedom of expression. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and other early American heroes must be turning in their graves today, as a result of this incredible Myrtle Beach scenario.
If she were wise, Cooper would contact the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) -- or other freedom-oriented organization -- to file a lawsuit against the Myrtle Beach School Department.
To be sure, Cooper should seek several million dollars in damages from the Myrtle Beach School Department for having her arrested, handcuffed, and jailed -- thus greatly humiliating and belittling her -- simply because she was cheering too loud for her daughter, while she received her high school diploma.