Right here in the grand state of Alabama (sarcasm, y’all), a seventeen year old Native American student named Chelsea Ramer is being denied her diploma because she was wearing a tribal feather on her cap while graduating from Escambia Academy High School in Atmore. She is a member of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians (which is common down here) and wore the feather to celebrate her heritage. Her school has a “no extraneous items” policy and made graduating seniors sign a contract. Chelsea did not sign, however, and was still allowed in to the ceremony. She will not get her diploma until she pays a $1000 fine.
Now for my critique. I can’t wait to see them attempt to enforce a ‘contract’ with a minor, that she couldn’t legally consent to anyway. It’s funny that high schools try to pull that crap as if it matters anyway. You still graduate. Your school still has to provide transcripts when asked by a college or university. I have never been asked to show my actual high school diploma for anything.
This is also very racist and shows how little respect people have for heritage these days. On the other hand, Chelsea was completely aware of the rule but still violated it. They should have pulled her out of line. But charging her a grand for breaking the rules seems ridiculous.
When I was a senior, we had a policy similar to Escambia’s. We could only wear white dresses that had to be a certain length, with straps, under our gowns. We were only allowed to wear white shoes. I bought a pair of silver sandals and was told that I would not walk if I wore them. However, some students showed up with rhinestones glued to the tops of their caps and not a word was said. A friend of mine whose hair was dyed an unnatural shade of red for her who high school career was forced to dye her hair in order to walk across the stage. Some girls showed up with hot pink weave, but were still allowed to graduate.
It is rumored that Chelsea is getting a lawyer (the headmaster from Escambia has been replaced, by the way). If she wants to pay all of the money for a lawsuit that she probably won’t win, more power to her. This type of discrimination happens everywhere. I do hate that my home state gets to take the blame for housing such ignorance in this case, though.