Daverius Peters almost didn’t make it to his high school graduation after allegedly violating the dress code. Luckily, his teacher was there to save the day.
The Hahnville High School student showed up to his high school graduation wearing a pair of brand new Alexander McQueen black leather sneakers with white soles.
Daverius was excited to walk across the stage to get his diploma, but a school employee stopped him at the door.
The faculty member told him he couldn’t enter the building because his footwear wasn’t aligned with the dress code. Daverius, who felt “humiliated” when the employee closed the door on his face, knew what this meant—he would miss his own graduation.
Students were required to wear dark-colored dress shoes and were banned from wearing slippers, athletic shoes, or open-toed footwear. With these rules in place, he thought his shoes matched the requirements.
Not knowing what to do, Daverius was glad to spot a friendly face. His high school teacher, John Butler, was also outside waiting on his wife. Mr. Butler, a paraeducator, had mentored him on several occasions throughout his high school career.
Daverius frantically approached Mr. Butler and told him about his situation. Mr. Butler was confused and escorted the student back to the door, hoping to clear up the misunderstanding. But, unfortunately, the staff stood her ground and still wouldn’t allow Daverius to enter the venue.
At that moment, Mr. Butler knew there was only one way to solve this problem.
The high school teacher took off his size 11 shoes and lent them to Daverius. They were two sizes bigger, but with only a few minutes to spare before the ceremony begins, the student graciously accepted.
“I was asking him, your daughter is graduating also with me, how are you going to watch her?” Daverius said. “He said I’m walking in with no shoes.”
And that’s exactly what he did. Mr. Butler attended the ceremony with only his socks on, but he said the minor inconvenience was all worth it.
“You don’t stop a kid from receiving his high school diploma, already the most important moment of their life to that point, you don’t take that away for something as small as shoes — and that’s exactly what was going to happen,” he said.
Daverius admitted he was embarrassed as he shuffled across the stage wearing shoes that were too big. However, he felt good when everybody chanted his name as he made his way to the other side of the stage.
His mom, Jima Smith, didn’t even know that it was her son because she was thrown off by his brown-colored shoes. She also had no idea about what happened until Daverius told her about it recently.
“We didn’t think that was Daverius. When we looked up he was sliding across the stage and I was like I missed it,” she said. “Then a light bulb went off and where are his shoes? Whose shoes does he have on?”
Recalling the event, Jima said she remembered her older son telling her about a “crazy man” attending the graduation with no shoes on. The family didn’t know then that that same man was the reason Daverius was able to walk across the stage to claim his diploma.
Jima is grateful to her son’s high school teacher for stepping in when he needed him.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you’ve done for not robbing this day completely from us,” she said.
Stevie Crovetto, director of public information at St. Charles Parish Public Schools, told CNN in a statement that they are looking to make the graduation dress code more inclusive.
Thanks to Mr. Butler’s kindness and quick thinking, this high school student didn’t miss one of the most important moments of his life!
Teachers like Mr. Butler deserve to be recognized. Please share this story to make his selfless act known.