PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia high school seniors will get a virtual graduation next month but school district decisions leading up to the celebration are angering some families. Graduation ceremonies have never been more different than this year but some seniors were hoping for a bit of normalcy.

Pandemic collateral damage strikes again. This time, Philadelphia high school seniors have been denied their caps and gowns. The district argues distributing them would violate stay-at-home orders.

“It’s already a horrible situation and not even to be able to mark it with the cap and gown, the tradition, it just makes it worse,” Mary Beth Malloy said.

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Malloy isn’t taking the decision lightly. It prompted her to post this sharp criticism, blasting the district.

Credit: CBS3

Her daughter Maddy, a senior at Science Leadership Academy, says she was looking to play the full part of graduate, if only virtually.

“I think that’s very unfair,” Maddy said. “I’m still working at my job, I still hand out food to people through mask and gloves, it’s not that hard. I don’t understand why the same cannot be done.”

Credit: CBS3

SLA senior Louisa Strohm is also disappointed.

“They’ve been able to safely get almost every kid in the school district a Chromebook, safely give people lunches but they can’t organize a way that all of the seniors in the district can get their cap and gowns so that we can graduate with them,” Strohm said.

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Families shelled out more than $200 for the graduation package that included the cap and gown.

The district tells CBS3, “This does not mean that our seniors are being refused these special items, but rather that we must ensure that we can provide a process that will allow for the safe and equitable distribution of these very special items.”

In the end, the students hope that the school district will reevaluate its decision and will distribute caps and gowns.

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