Graduation arrest mom says she'll fight charges

Shannon Cooper can't believe all the attention her story is getting.

Monday, we reported she was arrested for disorderly conduct after cheering at her daughter's graduation from South Florence High School Saturday night.

Since then, our story has been shared by major TV news networks, as well as radio stations and bloggers across the country.

Cooper stands by her defense, saying she did cheer but wasn't disorderly. She plans to fight the charge at her trial June 13th. She said she's in the process of gathering witnesses to testify on her behalf.

Florence police said it was announced before the ceremony that anyone who cheered or screamed would be escorted out of the building, and those who were disorderly, were arrested.

Florence Police Chief Anson Shells disagrees with Cooper's defense and said the facts of the case will come out at the trial.

He talked to us Wednesday for the first time since Cooper's arrest. Click here to see our interview with Chief Shells.

"The last thing that any of us wanted to see happen was somebody end up being arrested during a graduation ceremony," Shells told us, "But, unfortunately people can not be allowed to disrupt a ceremony to the point where everyone can't enjoy it, and unfortunately that's what happened in this case."

Shells said he stands by his officers and believes Cooper's arrest was lawful.

He met Wednesday with officials in Florence School District One, Florence County sheriff's deputies, and the director of the Florence Civic Center where the graduation was held.

He said they are working together to discuss the best ways to handle crowd reaction at graduations in the future.

The superintendent of Florence School District One, Dr. Allie Brooks, is also responding to the criticism handed out since the story went viral.

Brooks said they call parents, send letters, and warn them during the ceremony of the consequences of cheering.

"Our public relations officer, Mrs. Pamela McDaniel, can show you evidence of what was done by all the schools both verbally and in writing. Now that's at least four occasions before you get to the ultimate of being asked to be out," said Dr. Brooks.

Brooks said they hired 30 law enforcement officers to work the district's three graduations, at a cost that was higher than they paid to rent the Florence Civic Center.

Brooks commended the police officers for doing what they did to ensure safety and order at the graduation ceremonies.