High school denies family’s request for graduate to wear military stole

MAIDEN, N.C. — A local mother is upset that her son’s high school won’t allow him to wear a military stole during its graduation ceremony.

Victoria Bentley says her son is a Junior ROTC student at Maiden High School who plans to join the United States Marine Corps following graduation.

“I don’t want to see him go but I’m beyond blessed and proud to be his mom,” she told Channel 9′s Dave Faherty.

Bentley purchased a stole for her son to wear to his graduation ceremony to honor his commitment to the Marines, but the school’s principal denied the family’s request.

“For me, I want him and any other student that chooses to do this to be able to show their pride if they want to,” Bentley said.

Catawba County Schools says it only allows district-recognized academic cords during graduation stating, “These guidelines serve as a function of a school’s legitimate interest in celebrating academic achievement and showing class unity.”

The district says the policy does not prohibit students from wearing cords and stoles at off-campus recognition programs but not during the official graduation ceremony.

Bentley says she doesn’t understand the decision.

“When he said no, it was very hurtful and disappointing at the same time because these kids make it possible for our kids to go to school and have the freedom to choose what they want to do,” she said.

“I think it’s important for them for the school to show that they support all of the students equally not just certain ones who chose to go to college,” she said.

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