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Student barred from graduation over footwear borrowed mentor’s shoes

Peters and Butler after the ceremony. (Butler's Facebook)

A Louisiana high school student was stopped from entering his graduation ceremony over his shoe choice — then a teacher stepped in to help.

Daverius Peters, 19, selected a pair of black leather shoes with white bottoms to wear to the graduation ceremony for Hahnville High School. He didn’t realize they were against dress code, which called for dark dress shoes.

Peters was prevented from entering the building and didn’t have time to leave and purchase a new pair to wear.

“I was in shock,” Peters said of the incident to The Washington Post. “I felt humiliated. I just wanted to walk across the stage and get my diploma.”

With minutes to spare before the ceremony began, Peters spotted John Butler, a school paraeducator and Peters’s mentor, and explained the situation.

“Of course, that sounded crazy to me,” Butler told the Post. “There was nothing eccentric about his shoes.”

Butler then took the shoes off his feet, a pair of tan dress loafers, and gave them to the student so he could participate in his graduation ceremony.

“It was a no-brainer,” Butler said. “This was the most important moment in his life up to that point, and I wasn’t going to let him miss it for anything.”

Butler then settled in, wearing nothing on his feet but a pair of white socks, to watch Peters shuffle across the stage in a pair of shoes two sizes too large.

“I wasn’t surprised because Mr. Butler is that type of person,” Peters said, according to The Post. “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’s mother, Jima Smith, commended Butler for his actions.

“He gave the shoes off his own feet to my child,” she said. “That says a lot about what type of man he is.”

Tags Daverius Peters Footwear John Butler Louisiana The Washington Post

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