If all went according to plan, former Washburn Principal Carol Markham-Cousins was going to go out with the senior graduating class at the school's commencement earlier this month.

But plans changed somewhere between the district's confirmation that Markham-Cousins was to be on the stage and have a speaking role in the sendoff of nearly 200 seniors and the actual event.

MPLS offered Markham-Cousins a chance to explain, but she declined. According to the district, she informed superiors on the afternoon of the ceremony that she'd decided not to participate. She did take a chance to address seniors during the rehearsal for the ceremony.

Parent Margaret Richarson said she'd heard soem students were planning to make a show of protest toward Markham-Cousins to express their displeasure for her role in removing popular athletic director Dan Pratt out of that role.  The district removed her after Pratt's shift to a full time phy ed teacher for next year was protested by some students, but others spoke up in her support. 

Richardson said she applauded the decision of Markhame-Cousins to keep the focus of graduation on students.