A high school student graduated early for the chance to become one of the few. He accomplished his mission and became a Marine, graduating from boot camp on Friday.
Jacob Dalton Stanley took his newly earned uniform with him on a flight home to Indiana to walk at his high-school graduation.
Stanley showed up to practice the ceremony with his classmates. There he was reportedly told by Crown Point high school Principal Chip Pettit that he would not be allowed to don his uniform at commencement.
He was encouraged by friends and family to show up in the uniform, so that’s just what the Marine did. Once officials spotted him in uniform, he was barred from the ceremonies, according to the The Times of Northwest Indiana. Even worse, they didn’t even read his name.
Many residents are upset that the school has acted in such a stark contrast to neighboring school, Hobert High, which is just 16 miles away. Newly graduated Marine Private 1st Class Ana Kritikos wore her uniform at her graduation ceremony on June 1st. She was told that the school and school board supported honoring her service even though she didn’t arrive in time to practice for the ceremony.
Principal Pettit made a statement to the local newspaper saying that honors should be represented by the appropriate stoles and cords on their gown.
“We have continued wearing the traditional gown as this is the last formal event of the year and a celebration of the time our graduating seniors have spent at Crown Point High School. This tradition is not intended to be disrespectful to students, parents, or our community, but as a source of pride for our students. It is also not intended to be disrespectful to our students choosing to serve in the military, our active duty servicemen and women and our veterans. We are forever grateful for the sacrifices that they make on a daily basis for our freedom,” Pettit said.
Stanley declined to be interviewed however his classmates didn’t hold back.
Classmate Leann Tustison said the situation was “absolutely ridiculous. He’s in the military putting his life on the line for us,” she said.
“It’s unacceptable that he was not allowed to walk across the stage. If he wants to walk across the stage in his uniform that he worked so hard for and earned, he should have the right to do that. That’s his achievement. They honored other people’s achievements whether they were in triathlon or other activities,” she said.
“If his achievement is joining the armed forces, he should have been able to do that. The students were outraged. There were some students who were going to walk in solidarity with Jake. It was a disgrace,” Tustison said.
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