Hopefully I'm not stirring the pot here as there seem to be some high emotions about this story
but there is a way to get through a graduation ceremony without it being 4 hours long and allowing people to cheer.
I went to Colerain's graduation a couple weeks ago and they had a similar rule in place about excessive cheering (apparently last year's ceremony was absolutely horrible with people going crazy for way too long). The kids were all aware of the rule, it was mentioned about three times before they even got to the reading of the names, and people in the crowd around me were very well aware of things. The biggest thing they did to make this move smoothly but also give people a cheering chance was how they read off the names. They first read off the kids on the stage (summa cum laude, etc), then the Student Senate officers, then the other Senate kids, and finally they went to the alphabetical order for everyone else. After each group, or in the case of the alphabetical section after about 15-18 kids, the teacher or administrator who was reading simply said the words, "Thank you" which were the crowds cue that they could now cheer and clap for their students. When your kid walked by on the stage, you got to hear his or her name, see them walk and get their diploma, and when that particular group was done you were able to go crazy however you wanted to support them. It was one of the smoothest and most enjoyable graduations I've ever been to and it didn't bother anyone around me that they couldn't cheer right after their kid's name. They just cheered when their kids group was done. It seems like this type of system would work rather well for a lot of the bigger schools and I can't see how anyone would have a problem with it. And for the record, we were in and out of that ceremony in a little less than two hours (class size: 425 kids).
BTW-If the family and kid were both informed of the rules, and it sounds like they were, then the family should have respected their kid and the other kids in his class enough to follow those rules. I can understand them being frustrated that he's being punished for their actions but they should have known better. It really isn't that hard!
And count me as another who is a little irritated with them for running off to the press with this instead of dealing with the school and figuring out a way to help their kid get his diploma. That just screams 'attention getter' to me and I have no patience for that sort of thing. Obviously that's just my opinion but this story got way out of hand and could have been handled better.