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Pine Bluff graduation ceremony slowed by security lines



Pine Bluff, Arkansas – On Friday, two graduation shootings in Hot Springs and North Little Rock leads to enhanced safety measures for Pine Bluff High School’s graduation ceremony.

The focus for the Pine Bluff Convention Center where the graduation took place was combating crime and combating time.

Many people missed the ceremony because of the long lines to get through security on Thursday, May 12th at Watson Chapel High School’s graduation. Even with security measures ramped up, that was far from the case at Pine Bluff’s graduation. Pine Bluff Convention center added extra security, metal detectors, and ushers.

The Pine Bluff Convention Center checked everyone from the graduates to the band members performing. They also placed signs everywhere to alert people of the clear bag policy and even opened the doors two hours early.

One of the first in line at graduation was Judy Arnold. In order to see her grandson, she was there at 4:30 pm, but the ceremony didn’t start until 7:00 pm.

According to Arnold, she wasn’t taking “no chance at all” in missing to see her grandson’s accomplishment.

According to Marken Willingham, who was second in line, he wouldn’t be able to forgive himself if he missed his family member’s graduation.

Tonya Colen, the mother of the salutatorian, Charlston Colen arrived an hour and fifty minutes before the graduation started. She says she is for the security measures but can’t wrap her mind around the violence. “That type of thing should never happen ever anyway, but” especially “at an event like this, where we’re honoring and celebrating the graduates.”

Friday night, the lines moved with ease and no crimes were committed.