DOCUMENT: Stupid, Crime

Man Charged For Disrupting H.S. Graduation

Perp stopped daughter from shaking hands with admin

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Graduation Arrest

JUNE 6--The Wisconsin man who rushed the stage at his daughter’s high school graduation to keep her from shaking hands with a Black administrator was charged today with disorderly conduct, according to court records.

Matthew Eddy, 49, disrupted the May 31 ceremony at Baraboo High School moments after his daughter Elyse’s name was announced and she collected her diploma and began shaking hands with school officials.

In a police interview, Eddy claimed that he and his daughter had “past issues” with Rainey Briggs and disliked the Baraboo School District superintendent. Eddy “stated he wanted to prevent [Briggs] from having the satisfaction of shaking his child’s hand, so he went on the stage to prevent that from happening.” Asked if he was remorseful for disrupting the ceremony, “Matthew stated he was, but only for his child’s sake,” according to the complaint.

Eddy explained that he felt Briggs “treated he and his child unfairly and unprofessionally during a prior educational administrative proceeding which resulted in a negative educational consequence for his child.” The court filing does nor further detail this proceeding. 

In a June 5 interview, Briggs told police that Eddy grabbed his shoulder and pushed him backwards, saying that “he was not going to touch his ‘Fucking’ child.” Briggs told investigators that he “didn’t believe he knew who Matthew was until” the incident.

As seen in video from the event, Eddy darted out of the audience, bounded up six steps to the stage and shoved Briggs off the receiving line before the administrator--the only Black person on the stage--could congratulate the teenage graduate.

The ceremony was briefly derailed by the actions of Eddy, who was dressed to the nines in a Nike polo shirt and a ballcap on top of which his sunglasses rested.

Briggs is seeking a restraining order against Eddy, who was confronted backstage last week by Brendon Meyer, a school resource officer with the Baraboo Police Department.

Eddy was named today in a criminal complaint charging him with disorderly conduct, a class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a maximum $1000 fine. Eddy’s initial Circuit Court appearance is scheduled for August 14. His bond was set at $150.

Eddy, his wife Kelli, and the couple’s two children live outside Baraboo in the village of North Freedom on a 10-acre property.

In a statement, the school district said that it did not condone “threatening, intimidating, or physically harming behaviors against anyone in our School District community.” Without naming Eddy, the officials added, “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.” (3 pages)