1 arrested after parents try to push their way into New Jersey middle school graduation

EAST ORANGE, New Jersey (WABC) -- One person was arrested Friday following a disturbance at a middle school graduation in New Jersey.

It happened at the John L. Costley Middle School graduation in East Orange, where because of bad weather, the graduation was moved inside East Orange High School.

Space constraints limited tickets to three per graduate, which led to many people being left outside.

"When we got here, we weren't allowed to come in," parent Eddie Williams said. "They said the capacity was overcrowded, which it wasn't. It was enough room to fit everybody that was out here. And they just kept us outside like cattle, inside the rain."

Witnesses say at least 100 people were outside, and many reportedly tried pushing their way into the school.

"Our child graduates from middle school, and then our child doesn't even see their own parent in the crowd," Williams said. "And they're wondering, like, 'oh my God, my parent never showed up at the school,' when we're outside waiting for them. We're here to support all the children, and we're not here to start anything or have a riot. We just want to see our child, just like every other parent."

Police arrived and took at least one person, a woman believed to be the sibling of a graduate, into custody. She could be seen being put into a police car in handcuffs.

"My son graduated and my daughter got arrested," the woman's mother, Karen Carter, said tearfully. "The policeman shoved my daughter, pushed her and dragged her out the building...She's at the police station, arrested, and I can't get her. And I didn't see my son graduate, and I'm so hurt."

It was unclear if anyone was injured in the chaos.

"We want to see every achievement, every goal, everything," Williams said. "This is what we're here for, and they abandoned us from doing that. And it's very sad. I'm very hurt."

The school district has not yet provided a response at this time, but those at the ceremony said families that showed up early were allowed more than three people. Carter also said the start time was changed from 10 a.m. to 9 a.m. and that they were initially told they didn't need tickets.

"It's ridiculous," said Tasha Jamison, who recorded video of the arrest. "Like arrested because you can't get into a graduation? I feel like the East Orange police should have some type of sympathy. They didn't care. They locked that girl up."

Police said the woman was charged with obstruction, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct pending assistant prosecutor approval.

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