Principal's decision to change honors night causes stir

Posted: 03/20/13 at 10:35 pm EDT      Last Updated: 03/20/13 at 10:51 pm EDT

IPSWICH, Mass. (WHDH) -- An Ipswich principal’s decision is causing controversy after he decided to change an awards ceremony for students.

Ipswich Middle School's principal canceled an event to celebrate the school's academic achievers, telling parents honors night -- which can be a sense of pride for some -- can also be devastating to others.

“We're not saying everyone is getting a puppy or a trophy. We’re saying they're going to be there as a group as people are honored,” said Principal David Fabrizio.

Instead of the special night, the students will get their awards during an annual end of the year ceremony, which some parents think is a better idea.

“I think it’s important though, these kids are working hard and that they get these -- that they deserve their honors. But I think it should be in an assembly and not in like a special night,” said Jannine Vaciliou, a parent.

But even that school ceremony seemed problematic for some parents.

“They’re going to feel bad. ‘Oh mommy, I got C’s and low B’s. But the girl in my class is getting B’s and A’s. How coming I’m not being awarded?’” said Stephanie Cockman, a parent.

Principal Fabrizio says the focus is on getting all kids to continue to strive and succeed -- and bringing the entire school together could be the best motivation.

“You have to celebrate success in whatever it is. If someone doesn’t get that, there are other ways to celebrate who they are,” Principal Fabrizio said.

Principal Frabrizio sent out a second letter to clarify why he canceled honors night, explaining he just wants everyone to participate.

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