A student in Maryland wanted to show her Native American heritage by walking across the stage in a ceremonial dress under her graduation gown and moccasins.
“I want to have that connection to my Navajo side as I walk across that stage,” she told FOX 5.
She decided to check with her principal, to make sure she would be allowed to wear it, but she was told that she could wear the dress because it wasn’t visible under the graduation grown, but not the shoes or leggings.
The moccasins have special significance, she said. They were the same ones she wore during a four-day coming-of-age ritual when she was 11 years old.
The student started an online petition on https://www.change.org/ and already has more than 1,500 signatures of support. I feel as though a student should be able to wear what they want at their graduation as long as its appropriate for school. What is more appropriate than a formal ceremonial dress? The principal claims that it violates the dress code of black shoes only but this seems to be unreasonable given the cultural importance for this student. It seems to be a violation of the1st Amendment. Of course it would not be the first time in American history that our natives are treated unfairly.
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