UPDATE @ 20:15
(Original Post follows)
Looks like North Allegheny has posted a response
For several decades, the graduation dress protocol for the North Allegheny graduation has been simply defined and clearly enforced to maintain an emphasis on the class as a whole and to establish a sense of decorum for the ceremony. The only deviation from this protocol has traditionally been the addition of a gold cord designating membership in the National Honor Society, for graduates who have earned that distinction.
The purpose of Mr. Sieminski's call to this family will be to inform them of the following:
There is a new state law passed in March 2010, which prohibits the restriction of wearing military uniforms on school property. Therefore, there will be no restrictions imposed on this student in regard to the wearing of her uniform to graduation. She may choose what she wishes to do at graduation.
- The student may wear her uniform; she may wear a cap and gown; she may wear her cap and gown with her uniform under it and remove the cap and gown upon receipt of her diploma.
- As calls came in to the District today, the Marine Corps League made contact with us. This ultimately led to communication with and counsel from the Marine Corps Uniform Board, located at the Pentagon, regarding the issue of wearing Corps uniforms to these types of events. Their statement offered recommendations for compromise and permission for the student to wear her uniform under her cap and gown at the ceremony until after she accepted her diploma, if she desires to do so. This information will be shared with the student to provide her with a point of reference.
- The student's decision will have the full support of the Principal. North Allegheny requests that the family would communicate with the school regarding the student's plans.
Looks like they ended up doing the right thing. Whether it's for the right reasons or not is another debate, but at least this young woman will have the option to wear her uniform.
Looks like the very high school from which I graduated made the front page on Fox News: Semper No: Pennsylvania Marine Barred From Wearing Uniform at High School Graduation
Lindsay Starr told KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh she wanted to wear her dress blues during Friday's graduation ceremony at North Allegheny High School in Pittsburgh, but that school officials denied her request, citing the requirement of wearing only the traditional cap and gown.
Here was the response I sent to Ms. Joy Ed, the Director of Public Relations:
Dear Ms. Ed,
As a graduate of North Allegheny's 1996 class, I was saddened and disappointed to see that the current administration is not allowing Lindsay Starr to wear her Marine Corps uniform to the graduation ceremony.
I can understand the reasoning behind the policy - I remember the beach balls that some of the more immature students tossed around at my graduation - but I think that this "zero-thought" approach is doing more harm than good. I would think that showing that the school district can use good judgement and allow a student to wear her dress uniform would set a good example for the student body.
This student has already graduated, has made it through one of the more grueling boot camps, and will almost certainly see combat - and possibly be killed - very soon. Military uniforms are acceptable, if not honorable, attire for weddings, funerals, and award ceremonies and they should be no less acceptable for a high school graduation ceremony.
Please do the right thing and let this young woman wear the uniform of the country to which she has committed much of her life.
Now, I really do understand the reasons that policy was likely put in place. High school students, especially today, are often incredibly immature and lack any sort of common sense or respect for others. This policy will help prevent people showing up for graduation in jeans, bathing suits, costumes, etc. Likely, prior to the policy, one or more of those happened.
But one of the differences between an adult and a grown up is the ability to employ critical thinking, common sense, and to make decisions that uphold, enforce, and prove the principles that for which you stand.
You would think that the administration of a high school would be able to differentiate between a clown costume and the uniform of a branch of our military.
You would think that the administration of a high school would be able to argue successfully, and with ease, against the likely "Why can't I wear my Hooters uniform? You let her wear a uniform!" argument.
You would think all of that and, if you're talking about the administration of the North Allegheny School District
, you would apparently be wrong.
I hope the school district doesn't double down on stupidity and reverses its policy.
If you'd like to contact the Director of PR, please be courteous in doing so:
Ms. Joy Ed
Phone: (412) 369-5445