Police Report Reveals Why Dad Shoved Black Superintendent


Video of a high-school graduation in Wisconsin has gone viral after a father of a white graduate was seen bum-rushing the stage to push the Black superintendent out of the way, with many social media users speculating that racism was at the root of the man’s actions.

On May 31, Baraboo High School—about an hour outside of Madison and part of the Baraboo School District—held its graduation ceremony in a packed gymnasium.

“Our mission to engage, challenge, and inspire every student every day in every way has been the driving force behind every step you have taken within these hallways,” Baraboo Superintendent Dr. Rainey Briggs told the graduating seniors. “The vision of the school district of Baraboo is to be a leader through innovation and continuous improvement with a focus on the whole student.

“We have aimed to empower you to not only succeed academically, but also to develop into well-rounded individuals equipped to navigate the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”

After a series of motivational and reflective speeches, the students were called up, one by one, to receive their diplomas in alphabetical order.

But the smiles and sentiment vanished after one particular student’s name was called.

In a video of the full ceremony that was live-streamed on a local radio station’s Facebook page, the student went onstage to shake hands with the administration and receive her diploma, a man identified by the school district as the student’s father charged the stage.

According to a circuit court document obtained by The Daily Beast, the man’s name is Matthew Eddy.

Eddy, a white man wearing a white-collared shirt and baseball hat with sunglasses on the brim, swiftly strolled past a student and toward Briggs, grabbing the superintendent and pushing him further back on the stage.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa. No, you’re not,” Eddy was heard saying off-camera. “That’s my daughter.”

“If you don’t get up off me, man,” Briggs said. “Get away from me, bro.”

The commotion caused confusion onstage while some administrators attempted to intervene. Meanwhile, Eddy’s daughter, initially full of smiles, looked on in shock and embarrassment.

The crowd rallied together to “boo” in unison while staff members worked to remove Eddy from the stage.

“Get him off!” someone was heard shouting from the audience.

Cheers and applause erupted once Briggs returned to center stage. Naturally, awkward chatter followed before administrators were able to regain control of the crowd. After receiving her diploma, Eddy’s daughter returned to her seat among her fellow graduates seemingly devoid of any cheer.

The Daily Beast has chosen not to name the student as she did not visibly do anything wrong.

Social media users immediately dug into the incident, claiming racism.

“The father of a Baraboo High School student in Wisconsin storms the stage to stop a Black school district superintendent from shaking his daughter’s hand at her graduation ceremony,” political commentator and film producer Keith Boykin wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “But tell me again how we’ve never been a racist country.”

The National Council of Islamic Relations called for authorities to investigate and determine whether “possible bias” was at play.

TikToker @colorfullstory posted a reaction video and pointed out the irony of Eddy, who didn’t want Briggs to shake hands with his daughter, had the audacity to think Eddy could “put his hands” on Briggs.

“Some of you, racist bigots, believe that you still have the power and the right to put your hands on Black people,” she said in the video. “Did you learn nothing at the Montgomery brawl?… Keep playing these games, you’re going to win some stupid prizes.”

Human rights attorney Qasim Rashid called Eddy’s actions “grotesque white supremacy.”

“A District Superintendent was pushed away from congratulating a student graduating at the Baraboo High School by the girl's father who didn’t want her touching him,” tweeted journalist Victoria Brownworth. “Her dad ruined the most important day of her life with his racism.”

Eddy was charged with disorderly conduct, according to the Sauk County Circuit Court Clerk, and allegedly told the school resource officer who responded to the incident that he and his daughter had “past issues” with Briggs and did not like him. Eddy allegedly felt that Briggs treated his child unfairly, which resulted in “a negative educational consequence.”

“[Eddy] stated he wanted to prevent [Briggs] from having the satisfaction of shaking his child’s hand, so he went onto the stage to prevent that from happening,” read the clerk’s report.

According to the school resource officer who filed the report, Eddy was remorseful only for his daughter’s sake, and the resource officer thought that Eddy’s actions had been pre-planned.

A report from the Baraboo Police Department indicated that there was no “bias motivation” behind the attack.

However, Briggs told the school resource officer that he didn’t know who Eddy was until the graduation ceremony, according to the police report. He did note that Eddy’s daughter had been expelled at one point, but Briggs “does not directly interact with parents regarding expulsions.”

Briggs also said that he would obtain a restraining order against Eddy, who would also be banned from Baraboo School District properties. He told the resource officer that the incident made him so anxious that he was afraid someone else was going to go after him during the graduation ceremony.

“[Briggs] stated that following Monday, which was 06-03-2024, he did not physically come into work as he was still afraid for his safety,” resource officer Brendan Meyer said in the notes of the police report. “[Briggs] also commented off camera earlier in the morning… that he fears coming to the schools as his presence may attract dangerous individuals. Since this incident, [Briggs] stated his schedule has had to be moved around and has disrupted his normal day-to-day operations.”

In a statement, the Baraboo School District said “the safety and well-being of [its] students, staff, and community members is a top priority.”

“There is an active investigation into this matter, therefore we are unable to comment further on specific details,” spokesperson Hailey Wagner wrote. “The School District of Baraboo is taking this incident very seriously and are working closely with local law enforcement to ensure a thorough investigation.”

The Baraboo school board also commented on the “interruption” of what was once a “joyful celebration.”

“What we do not condone is engaging in threatening, intimidating, or physically harming behaviors against anyone in our School District community,” members of the Baraboo Board of Education issued in a prepared statement. “No employee of the School District of Baraboo should fear for their physical safety when fulfilling their job duties or at any other time. That this adult felt emboldened to behave in this way in front of hundreds of students and other adults should deeply trouble us all; this type of behavior will not be tolerated. The School District of Baraboo Board of Education condemns such actions and asks the community to take a stand and speak out against this type of behavior that threatens the fabric of our democracy.”

Eddy did not respond to The Daily Beast’s requests for comment.

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