Speed Reads

it wasn't all bad

Teacher gives student the shoes off his feet to make sure he can attend graduation ceremony

When Daverius Peters learned he didn't have the right footwear for his graduation, his mentor stepped up and saved the day, giving him the shoes off his feet.

Last month, Peters arrived at his high school graduation ceremony with black leather sneakers with a white sole. He was told he needed dark dress shoes, but with the event starting in just minutes, Peters didn't have enough time to rush out for new shoes. When he saw John Butler, a paraprofessional educator and his mentor, he ran over and explained what was happening.

Butler tried to get Peters into the ceremony with his shoes, but when that didn't work, he took off his loafers and handed them to Peters. "It was a no-brainer," Butler told The Washington Post. "This was the most important moment in his life up to that point, and I wasn't going to let him miss it for anything." 

They don't wear the same shoe size, and Butler said they got a good laugh over the way Peters shuffled in the larger shoes. Peters said he wasn't surprised that Butler offered his shoes, because he's "that type of person. At school, if you're having a bad day, he'll be the one to take you out of class, walk around the school with you, and talk to you."

The switch-up caused some confusion at first — Peters' family didn't know where his new, large shoes came from, and no one could understand why Butler was only wearing socks. Once the situation was explained, Peters' mom, Jima Smith, expressed her gratitude for Butler. "I pray he will continue to work in the public school system because we need more teachers like him," she told the Post. "Our young Black men need good role models and mentors like Mr. Butler."

He was able to help Peters, and Butler intends on doing something for all students — he will meet with school administrators to go over the dress code and guidelines for future graduation ceremonies, because something as small as the type of shoe worn to the event "shouldn't rob a kid from experiencing this major moment," he told the Post.