Dad's claim for rainy Gilbert graduation denied - East Valley Tribune: News

Dad's claim for rainy Gilbert graduation denied

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Posted: Friday, August 1, 2008 4:52 pm | Updated: 10:45 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

A Gilbert parent will not be reimbursed for his daughter's damaged jacket and airfare after a claim he filed was denied.

Kirk Gossett was seeking $400 from the Gilbert Unified School District after it rained during the May 22 Gilbert High School graduation of his son, Kyle.

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The money was to replace his 27-year-old daughter's ruined jacket and to pay for her plane ticket from Provo, Utah. His daughter, Jennelle Young, flew in to see her younger brother graduate.

The claim letter to Gossett, dated July 30, said that Gilbert High employees made a "good faith effort" to conduct the graduation ceremony as to "best" accommodate the participants and their invited guests.

"The fact that it rained and caused some disruption and an abbreviated ceremony is unfortunate but does not create liability," wrote Thomas Mullen, an adjuster with the Arizona School Risk Retention Trust.

Gossett said he's not surprised the district denied his claim, but had hoped it would at least pay for his daughter's $50 jacket. Gossett had not yet received the denied claim letter on Friday.

He said the fact that the school retook graduation photos and remade programs showed the school took some responsibility for not moving the graduation inside.

Gilbert High was the only school in the Gilbert district to hold the ceremony outside despite the rain.

Several parents complained to the district after the ceremony was held outside on the cold, windy and wet night.

Gilbert High Principal Charlie Santa Cruz has said the ceremony was held outside not only for the tradition, but because it wasn't raining at the beginning of the ceremony.

In other school districts, parents said the graduations that were moved inside because of the weather were crowded or confusing.

Clyde Dangerfield, the district's assistant superintendent of business services, said it "makes sense" that the claim was denied.

"There's no liability on the part of the school district for weather," Dangerfield said. "It certainly was expected that it would be turned down."

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