Monessen school board stands by decision to ban standout student from walking at graduation

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MONESSEN, Pa. - A high school football star and standout student said he'll continue to fight to walk at graduation with his classmates at the end of the year.

Chavas Rawlins graduated early from Monessen High School and was offered a scholarship to West Virginia University.

School board members said Rawlins was permitted to leave high school early to begin college, with the understanding that he could not walk with his classmates at graduation at the end of the school year.

The terms of that agreement have angered many in the community, and prompted supporters to show up at a meeting Tuesday night. School board members weren't swayed and said they are sticking by their original decision.

"We told the student, if we do allow that to happen one of the conditions would be that once he graduation he would be done with his high school experience, including walking at commencement," said school board president Sharon Mauck.

"He didn't do anything wrong. He wants to better himself and go early. That's something big for Monessen," said Rawlins' mother Laurie Sutovich.

Initial reports claimed Rawlins was blocked from commencement because of comments he made on social media, but school leaders said those claims are false.