Update: EPISD changes community service requirement for graduation ceremony

FILE PHOTO: EPISD Graduation ceremony 

A policy that requires students of El Paso Independent School District to be involved in the community was under review Tuesday.

The district required students to complete 120 hours of community service in order to participate in the graduation ceremonies, but the board voted Tuesday to remove the requirement effective immediately.

“Unfortunately, we’ve gotten a lot of push back from different folks and now we’re going to make it voluntary," said EPISD superintendent, Juan Cabrera.

The district implemented the requirement in 2014.

“It was determined that while we know students are doing the community service, they have not logged into our system to log the hours. There were many, many students in danger of missing out on graduation ceremonies, which we didn't think was a feasible route to take,” said district spokesman Gustavo Reveles.

Many students and parents we spoke with ahead of the board meeting wanted the requirement to be removed.

"You know, that's what they wait for- four years, ever since their pre-kinder, elementary, middle and go to high school is to someday walk and say hey, I graduated," said Francisco Aldava, a Burges High School parent. "And, if they don't allow them to do that, it's a terrible thing for EPISD to do."

Students were asked to log their community service hours through the school district’s website.

"I think they should not keep it, because not everyone wants to do the community service hours," said Burges High School freshman, Alejo Vizcarra.

Before the decision was made Tuesday night, if students didn't complete their community service hours, they would not be allowed to participate in their school’s graduation ceremony.

Cabrera told KFOX14 that students who did complete 120 hours of community service will receive recognition at their graduation ceremony.

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