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Louisiana Teacher Gives Teen Shoes Off His Own Feet So He Doesn't Miss Walking At Graduation

Louisiana Teacher Gives Teen Shoes Off His Own Feet So He Doesn't Miss Walking At Graduation
John Butler/Facebook

A high school senior in Louisiana almost missed walking at his graduation ceremony because of a dress code policy that didn't allow sneakers.

Luckily, his teacher literally took the shoes off his own feet at the last minute and handed them to the student so he could walk with his classmates to receive his diploma.

Hahnville High School's graduation dress code states male graduates must wear dark shoes and tennis shoes are prohibited.

Daverius Peters, a senior at the high school located in Boutte, was wearing Alexander McQueen black leather sneakers with white soles when he was blocked by a representative who informed Peters his footwear was not appropriate for the ceremony's dress code.

The black leather McQueen designer shoes are considered a luxury brand, but the school still considered them "tennis shoes."

Peters, who thought he was already dressed in line with the policy with a white shirt and tie and black trousers, said:

"She just stopped me saying I couldn't wear my shoes. Another kid had the exact same shoes, so I was confused."

He continued:

"I was embarrassed. I was humiliated. And I was just shocked when it started because my shoes were black and dark-colored, so I'm like why am I getting stopped."

Fortunately, John Butler—a teacher at the school whose daughter was also graduating that day—saw Peters in a panic and without hesitation gave the graduating senior the shoes off his feet.

In a Facebook post, Butler shared a photo of him with Peters—by then with diploma in hand—and explained what happened.

John Butler/Facebook

John Butler/Facebook

Butler wrote:

"Last minute before they close the doors to graduation. The young brother comes walking towards me in a panic."
"He's like, Mr. John they won't let me graduate because I don't have the proper shoes for the dress code. He says the lady down there said I can't walk to get my diploma because of the shoes I'm wearing."

Butler said he went to speak to the woman for confirmation after being skeptical over Peters' dilemma.

"Sure enough she tells me the same thing. So then it becomes a no-brainer to me, a no more questions-asked scenario. I gave him the shoes on my feet."

People lauded the teacher for doing the right thing without hesitation.

According to USA Today, Peters' family had arrived at the last minute and were not able to pick up a program.

His mom, Jima Smith, said by the time her son's name was called, the family debated whether or not the young man walking on stage was Peters because of his shoes.

She said:

"I'm like, 'That is Daverius,' and they were like, 'No, that is not Daverius. That kid has on brown shoes."

Upon learning what Butler did for her son, Smith got emotional.

"When I turned to Mr. Butler, I called and contacted him and had a conversation with him asking him exactly what happened. ... I was literally in tears because I did not know all of this took place and that my son had to experience it."

Smith understood the graduation dress code, but believed the school could improve how it applies the policy.

The mother brought up a point many others have across the United States in regards to graduation dress codes. A family or child's financial situation should not bar them from receiving the same honors they earned, such as a high school diploma, as more affluent students.

She said:

"The cap and gown are already costing us $138.50, and you don't know people's situation."
"So you know, I had a big problem about that as well. Like how about a kid who can't afford to wear these things that you're requiring, and I think the school needs to put something in place, really look deep into exactly what's going on."

Peters recalled the conversation he had with his teacher in a hurried moment.

"At first, he asked me what size I was. I said a 9, and he gave me his shoes. I slipped on his shoes like slippers because of how big it was."

In his Facebook post, Butler noted the humorous manner in which the graduating student walked up to receive his diploma.

"He had to slide his feet like Sleestak across the stage to receive his diploma," he said, referring to the cave-dwelling alien creatures from the 1970s TV series Land of the Lost and in the 2009 movie adaptation starring Will Ferrell.

"We had a good laugh," wrote Butler.

The news outlet said Butler plans to have a discussion with the school administration to review the dress code policies and other guidelines required for future ceremonies.