Students Petition Texas High School to Allow Netherlands Exchange Student to Walk at Graduation

PHOTO: Hidde Tuinte is shown in this undated photo.PlayHidde Tuinte
WATCH Exchange Student's Fight to Participate in Graduation Exercises at Texas High School

"Let Hidde walk!"

That's what Taylor High School students in Texas are demanding on t-shirts, signs and social media after foreign exchange student Hidde Tuinte, 17, said he was recently told by the school that he may not be able to walk at the school's graduation next Friday because he's missing required classes.

"It's been so crazy these past few days," Tuinte, originally from the Netherlands, told ABC News today. "I feel I have a whole army working for me. I had no idea people liked me this much."

Tuinte's host "mother," Jennifer Lovejoy, told ABC News today that Tuinte is a "boy with a good heart" and that she thinks "it's wonderful" his friends are supporting him in such an amazing way.

"All he wants is to walk with his friends," she said. "It's never been about the diploma. I just want to say, 'Look, give him a certificate of completion that he's completed a year here, and let him walk.'"

Lovejoy added that although Tuinte is a senior at the high school in Texas, he still has another year of high school left in the Netherlands before he will go onto college there.

Taylor Independent School District Superintendent Jerry Vaughn said he was "in the process of reviewing this concern" in a statement to ABC News today.

"Be assured that Taylor ISD is investigating the situation, the educational records and the concerns of the student," Vaughn said. "ISD will follow Taylor ISD board policies that address graduation and commencement. All students who have fulfilled the required course work for credits as well as the required state assessments will be allowed to participate in graduation."

Tuinte said he was working with the school to get his complete transcript from the Netherlands and possibly complete work over the long Memorial Day weekend to make up for the classes he's missing to assess if he can be allowed to walk at graduation.

Regardless of whether he gets to walk, Tuinte said he's had a "great experience" in the U.S. and is considering moving here permanently in the future.

"I've learned a lot about myself and what I want to do, and I've met a lot of good friends I'll be coming back to definitely visit," he said.

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