The irony, of course, is that if Brandon Paquette had died of his cancer, he likely would have had a special place at graduation.
There would have been a moment of silence, perhaps a dedication with his image in the program, a murmur from his friends or even a standing ovation when his name was mentioned by the valedictorian.
But, no, he survived cancer. And rather than celebrate that, Pinkerton invoked “policy.”
There was no last-minute change of heart by Pinkerton. And this really was a matter for the heart.
Rules are rules, but among the lessons of a liberal education are that there are always exceptions and that common sense and simple human decency ought to trump stiff-necked adherence to rules and policies.
Pinkerton had already, and sensibly, relaxed the rules in the case of another member of the Class of 2013.
Skylar Anderson was told she could not wear her National Guard sash over her graduation gown because school policy permitted only school-related sashes, like those worn by members of the National Honor Society.
But after an outcry over its apparent lack of respect for the military, the school relented and agreed to a compromise allowed Anderson to don the sash after she and others entering the service were asked to stand to be recognized during the commencement ceremony.
The school had a decision to make and did so. Sadly, that was the last lesson for Pinkerton’s Class of 2013.