Families turned away from Eastlake High School graduation

Posted at 10:26 PM, May 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-01 09:32:11-04

CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) - Hundreds of family members were frustrated and heartbroken Wednesday night when they arrived for a high school graduation at Southwestern College but were turned away.

The venue was selected for the Eastlake High School's graduation ceremony, but one mom told 10News that when she pulled out her ticket to get in, she was told too many people had already packed the stands.

Dometrives Armstrong was devastated that she was not able to see her son Jaylen walk across the stage to receive his diploma.

She said, "A nice police lady let me watch the live stream on her phone from the parking lot, so I got to see my son that way."

Video captured during Wednesday night's commencement showed hundreds of people standing outside of Southwestern College after they had been turned away from getting inside.

The Sweetwater Union High School District said the graduation ceremony was at maximum capacity, and fire marshal warned district officials to stop letting people into the venue if they wanted the event to continue.

District officials suspect some people may have made fake copies of event tickets to get extra people inside, which left many parents like Armstrong on the outside looking in.

"It's still a good day, but I wish I could have been there in person," Armstrong said.

Southwestern College's stadium holds 10,000 people, and Eastlake High's graduating class included 700 students.

10News learned each family received 12 tickets, so even if everyone attended, they likely would have all fit in the venue.