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‘The Real MVP’: Black Male Teacher Saves the Day After Student Was Initially Blocked from Walking During His Graduation Over Improper Footwear

A teacher originally from Cleveland recently proved that not all heroes wear capes. 

On May 20, John Butler, a Black male high school teacher took to his Facebook account to reveal that one of his students almost didn’t walk across the stage at his graduation because of the school’s graduation dress code policy. 

In the post, Butler wrote that just before the ceremony was about to commence, a student came running up to him and informed him that staff would not allow him to participate in the event because he did not have the “proper shoes for the dress code.” Butler continued, “He says the lady down there said I can’t walk to get my diploma because of the shoes I’m wearing.” The teacher later shared a photo of the shoes the student was initially wearing, which happened to be a pair of Alexander McQueen men’s bicolor leather low-top sneakers that run for about $580 retail.

Butler explained that after confirming with another staff member, the solution to the student’s problem became a “no brainer to me, a noo more questions asked scenario.” Butler said, in the end, “I gave him the shoes on my feet. Here’s the funny part tho… my shoes were 2 sizes bigger than his, so when his name was called, he had to slide his feet like Sleestak across the stage to receive his diploma😂😂😂 we had a good laugh.”

John Butler with student he gave his shoes to after he was told he wouldn’t be able to walk with his graduating class because of a dress code. (Photo: John Butler/Facebook)

It is unclear what the dress code restrictions were for the graduation as Butler did not identify the school in his post. He did however, share a photo of the shoe.

“These are the shoes that were going to prevent a young man from receiving his high school diploma. 🤦🏾‍♂️In case anyone was wondering.”

Shoe worn by student at graduation that nearly kept him from receiving diploma. (Photo: John Butler/Facebook)

Butler’s initial post received over 3,000 comments and over 20,000 shares from supporters who applauded him for the gesture. One Facebook user wrote, “Mr Butler, you are awesome. This is so awesome, I Thank God for you sir, its still good people out there all is not lost.. What a Blessing to be a Blessing 🙌🙌🙌🙌❤❤❤❤.”

Another person commented, “ Thank you Mr John! We need to give young people EVERY chance to succeed! And you rose to the need! God bless you! I am so glad your shoes were too big, but what would have happened if they were two sizes too small?” 

Several other users called out the school for what they deemed was a “ridiculous” policy. One man chimed in, “What is inappropriate about those.” He added, “They can dress up and down. He looked great with his white shirts, bow tie and slacks. As an Educator this infuriates me!!! Thank you sir for enabling him to take that walk and receive the diploma he earned. You are the Real MVP!!!”

Earlier in the year, a post by Butler confirms his understanding of the magnitude of his presence as a Black male high school teacher. In a February Facebook post, Butler noted how he impacts not only Black students but white students as well.

“I work in a high school. Black male students see me and they gravitate my way. Finally someone who looks like me, finally someone who identifies with my day to day I imagine they think. They see possibly their future selves in me even but even better than me. White male students see Mr. John and it’s basically the same thought process (except the looking alike part) and coincidentally as I started typing this two white students walk up to me and starts talking.

Student 1: “waddup Mr. John”
Student 2: Man Mr. John don’t fool with you”
Student 1: yeah right Mr. John loves everybody
Student 2: yeah you right. Mr. John you’re a good person I never met anybody like you.
Student 2: yeah Mr. John you’re definitely going to heaven

I can’t make this up lol… point is black men your presence is needed in our schools your impact can’t be measured everyone benefits.”

Atlanta Black Star was unable to identify the school nor the student involved. 

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