Lyman Hall in Wallingford hosts private graduation for student

Lyman Hall in Wallingford hosts private graduation for student


FILE PHOTO -- Lyman Hall High School in Wallingford, Tuesday, May 16, 2017. | Dave Zajac, Record-Journal

WALLINGFORD — The school district went out of its way to give a student a special graduation that made her feel comfortable and happy, school officials said Friday.

Without revealing specifics about senior student Mackenzie Torcello, School Superintendent Salvatore Menzo said news reports that Torcello had been bullied by her peers and didn’t feel comfortable being near them at graduation isn’t “the story.”

Torcello, who is on the autism spectrum, spent her senior year at Lyman High School with a tutor at a local library. She said she wasn’t comfortable graduating with the class because she had been bullied.

Wallingford schools arranged for a private ceremony, held Wednesday afternoon. The system says they wanted her accomplishment to be both personalized and memorable.

Torcello’s mother says her daughter’s teachers and counselors showed up for what turned out to be a “great day.”

Torcello says the ceremony made her feel special.

Menzo agreed. “It was a celebratory moment,” he said. “Everyone was happy the student ended high school in this way. She’s been successful, that’s the celebration.”

Menzo defended the district’s bullying policy — now called mean behavior — stating it follows state law.

“Students are given opportunities to report any acts of mean behavior,” Menzo said. “Anything and everything is investigated to the fullest extent.”

School Board Chairwoman Roxane McKay said she had heard about the special ceremony, but nothing about bullying.

“The impression was it was an accommodation to meet the needs of one of our students,” McKay said.

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