An 18-year-old Boutte, Louisiana student nearly lost the opportunity to walk with his classmates and receive his Hahnville High School diploma all because of his choice in shoes.
According to The Washington Post, when Daverius Peters showed up to his May 19 graduation ceremony at the convention center, he was told by a school representative that his shoes violated the dress code.
Peters was wearing black, leather sneakers with white soles. However, in order to attend the ceremony, the school requires male students to wear dark dress shoes and “no athletic shoes.” The rest of the outfit adhered to the graduation dress code, but Peters explained about his choice in footwear, “I thought I could wear them because they’re black.”
Peters said, “I was in shock. I felt humiliated. I just wanted to walk across the stage and get my diploma.”
The graduation was scheduled to start in minutes when thankfully, John Butler, 38, a paraeducator who was attending the ceremony due to his daughter graduating, stepped in to help. Butler tried to reason with the school rep but was refused.
Butler, who has worked at Hahnville High School for the last two years, said, “Of course, that sounded crazy to me. There was nothing eccentric about his shoes.”
Wanting to see the teenager walk down the aisle, Butler made the ultimate sacrifice and gave Peters the shoes off his feet.
Only problem was Butler wears a size 11, two sizes bigger than Peters. Nonetheless, the 18-year-old slipped on the shoes while Butler wore only his socks for the ceremony.
Peters told The Washington Post, “I wasn’t surprised because Mr. Butler is that type of person. At school, if you’re having a bad day, he’ll be the one to take you out of class, walk around the school with you and talk to you.”
Peters could barely walk as he slid down the aisle, but he did get his diploma.
See Peters’ graduation photo, which has gone viral:
Peters returned Butler’s shoes immediately after the ceremony.
Jima Smith, Peters’ mother was confused when she saw her son walking down the aisle in someone else’s footwear and told The Washington Post that her son believed his shoes fit the dress code. “He worked so hard, and for someone to just rip that away from him, that was maddening to me.”
She added, “How about if I couldn’t afford to buy him the shoes? This is not just about him; this is about the people that come after him.”
As for John Butler gifting her son his own shoes, she said, “He gave the shoes off his own feet to my child. That says a lot about what type of man he is.”
After the story went viral, Stevie Crovetto, the director of public information for Hahnville High School, said in a statement, “As with any policy that we have in place, any time an opportunity is presented to us to review and to make improvements, we absolutely will follow up on that. We are not the least bit surprised that Mr. Butler did this kind gesture for this senior.”
“Something that small shouldn’t rob a kid from experiencing this major moment,” John Butler said.
Butler also plans to meet with administrators about the dress code policy.