Marines, Soldiers, Barred from High School Graduation while Wearing Uniforms

By Faye Higbee

Some school districts in the country are barring Marines or Soldiers from wearing their uniforms or stoles in their High School graduation ceremonies. And though they all claim it has “nothing to do with support for the troops” – that’s not true. It has everything to do with support for our military.

Young recruits are proud of the decision they’ve made to join the US Armed Forces. To deny them the opportunity to receive their high school diplomas with other members of their classes is ridiculous.

Indiana’s Hobart High School was supportive of one student wearing her Marine Corps uniform.

“This year was especially nice, because Ana Kritikos graduated midterm and landed just in time for the graduation ceremony.” Superintendent Peggy Buffington to the Times of Northwest Indiana.

Not so with nearby Crown Point High School.  Principal Chip Pettit told  PFC Jacob Stanley that he would have to wear his cap and gown, not his uniform. He chose to wear his dress blues anyway, and they actually escorted him out of the ceremony because of it.

For his part, Jacob Stanley just wants to move on.

“I don’t want the social media controversy that is drawing attention away from the Class of 2017. I also do not want to make any additional statements and wish to put this all behind me so I can start my career in the Marine Corps.” Stanley in a statement from 9th Marine Corps District, Naval Station Great Lakes

The Marine Corps stated they are proud to have Stanley in their ranks, and “appreciate” his pride in the uniform. USMC does not have a policy about wearing the uniform at graduations, and leaves it up to the individual school districts.
Meanwhile, Elias Velasquez in Redlands, California, was told he couldn’t wear his Army stole over his cap and gown.
“It’s kinda defeating the purpose of achieving that greatness. We push our kids to strive and try to be better and do the best they can and then we tell them at their grad ceremony we need you to all be the same because we don’t want to hurt anyone else’s feelings.” Joe Velasquez, Elias’ father
Mr. Velasquez hit the nail on the head in that statement. In 2014, a Marine was told he couldn’t wear his uniform to his high school graduation. LCpl Brandon Garabrant was killed in combat in Afghanistan one year later.
Do you think they schools who do this are being disrespectful?