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Guzman started dialing, too. She called the DPS superintendent's office, other DPS officials (at one point, she had three on a speaker phone), members of the school board. She called education activists and told them to get ready to rally. "My blood keeps boiling," she said. "There's going to be a huge outcry."

Or maybe just one very big celebration this Saturday.

On Tuesday afternoon, I finally got a call back from Alex Sanchez, spokesman for DPS, who read a statement: "Ed Salem and the Denver Board of Education and the staff of North look forward to having every single one of the graduates at the actual graduation ceremony. We look forward to celebrating their accomplishments."

That's all 180 students, he pointed out. DPS would be calling the parents of the fifty students who were told they couldn't participate, to "clarify" the situation. "The point here," he said, "is that we look forward to having every single student at graduation."

When I called Martinez with the news, she was overcome. Martin was overjoyed. "I just wanted someone to hear me," she said.

Loud and clear.

Michael and his mother have worked hard to get him through school. "Michael was kind of struggling in civics," she admits. Give them both an A for this lesson in civic responsibility. And give Salem an F. Yes, attendance is important — but the time and place to fight truancy is not after a student has already qualified to graduate.

As for North, it's about to undergo a $34 million, taxpayer-funded rehab. Let's hope DPS remembers to put in some heart.

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