Hastings High School in Hastings, Nebraska denied senior Megan Pohlmeier the ability to wear her US Army sash for graduation. It’s been a recurring theme in America over the last several years over all branches of the service.
She called the school to see if she could wear it and was told no. She told them she had worked really hard for that sash, and stated that the school didn’t give her a reason for the refusal.
So she had her father call the school, and the principal, Thomas Szlanda, once again emphatically said no. But Megan planned to wear the sash tucked under her gown so pictures could be taken before and after the graduation but not show during the ceremony.
But the principal saw the sash and pulled her out of the lineup.
“He pulled me out of line and said, ‘I talked to you and your father and you are not to be wearing that. If I see you wearing that again, you will not receive your diploma.” Megan
The school could not have denied her diploma according to Omaha.com. And the graduation ceremony is voluntary.
Superintendent Craig Kautz stated that he thought the wording of what was said was different. “At a certain point, I think, in all of the discussion that occurred, the principal was just saying, ‘Get the sash off and get in the graduation line or don’t go through the graduation ceremony.’” He said she could have appealed the decisions, but she says she wasn’t given that option.
For her part, Megan just wanted an apology, saying it could have been handled differently.
The Hastings school district issued this statement:
“We are sorry (this) has generated the perception that we are not patriotic. This could not be further from the truth. Our mission, in part, is to develop responsible citizens. We cannot think of a more responsible citizen than the ones who select to or are chosen to serve the United States of America.”
Whether or not the issue was one of semantics or misunderstanding, it produced a serious backlash on social media.
The posts ranged from “omg” to anger, and a pile of emotions in between. Military families were incensed. The post has been shared 10,328 times as of the writing of this article.
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Featured photo: screenshot via Megan Pohlmeier