CHICAGO (CBS) — Graduation ceremonies are taking on a special significance this year – for so many graduating seniors, it is one of the only high school milestones they will be able to attend in person.
So why are some Chicago public high schools strictly limiting tickets – even at large venues like Soldier Field? CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov went digging for answers Wednesday.READ MORE: Car Found, Driver Arrested In Westmont More Than 3 Weeks After Gage Park Carjacking
The capacity at Soldier Field is 61,500. It is the site of two dozen high school graduations this season – all post-pandemic celebrations.
But the parents of some soon-to-be Chicago Public Schools graduates say some family members will be forced to miss out.
“We had to sit there and lay it out,” said Molly Ingraffia. “Does little brother get to go? Do we leave out a grandparent?”
That is because despite the state’s reopening and Soldier Field’s massive capacity, Ingraffia’s family is only getting four tickets.
“It’s just hard, because they’ve been through such a tough year,” Ingraffia said. “They’ve lost so much and all these really special events that are part of high school, and then they get this gift of a graduation – and they can’t be surrounded and supported by their families in the moment.”
Ingraffia’s son, Andy, goes to Lane Technical High School, 2501 W. Addison St. Its graduating class has about 1,100 students.
Lori Mulderink’s son, Matthew, goes there too.READ MORE: Chicago’s Speed Cameras Churn Out Hundreds Of Thousands Of Tickets After Rule Change
“It just seems inconsistent with other messages that are going around the city,” Mulderink said.
If you do the math, four tickets per family plus the graduates means about 5,500 total people in Soldier Field – far less than 10 percent of its capacity. Current stadium limits are 60 percent capacity.
“It’s just hard when you’ve been given this gift, but now it feels restricted and unfair,” Ingraffia said.
It turns out it is not a matter of fairness – it is contractual. A Soldier Field spokesperson said Lane Tech’s current contract, negotiated during COVID restrictions, only allows four tickets per graduate.
The school could renegotiate, as other schools have, to get more. But that costs money – about $10 per ticket.
“If it doesn’t turn out, it will be very disappointing – in a year that was already somewhat disappointing,” Mulderink said. “But you, obviously, we have to follow the rules.
Kozlov reached out to Lane Tech to see if renegotiation was being considered. There has been no response.MORE NEWS: Weekend Guests At Six Flags Great America Say Crowds, Closed Rides, Huge Fight Involving 20 People Ruined Their Experience
So for now, like always, the tickets will remain a hot commodity.