A high-school graduate in North Carolina was allegedly denied his diploma after wearing a Mexican flag to the graduation ceremony. The school claims that the flag was a violation of their dress code for the event.
Fox reported, “Ever Lopez, who is Mexican American, draped a Mexican flag over his gown at Asheboro High School’s graduation ceremony in May, prompting the principal to ask him to take the flag off, video of the ceremony shows.”
The student attempted to remove his flag, but was unable to. He was then denied his diploma.
The school said in a statement, that they support the right of students to express their identity at the appropriate time. “Students were encouraged to express their identity by decorating their mortar boards (flat topped graduation hat). A number of students followed the protocol and had the Mexican flag and other representations appropriately displayed during the ceremony.” They said.
They claimed that the situation had nothing to do with the symbolism of the flag, only the manner in which it was displayed. Lopez told ABC that he has not yet received his diploma and has been asked by the school to apologize in order to receive it. Lopez does not believe that he should have to apologize. He believes that his motive to be justified.
“My parents, my whole family, is from over there. I did it for them because they had a rough childhood; they didn’t get the scholarship that I got, or they didn’t get to go to school like I did. So … representing my flag and getting a diploma was really important to me, because I was basically doing it for my family.” He said.
Ever Lopez is the first in his family to graduate highschool.
“When I got up there I went for the handshake and I wasn’t thinking nothing of it and I heard her say, ‘You can’t wear that,'” Lopez said. “And I was in shock and confused. I was like, ‘What?’ She was like, ‘The flag. You can’t wear that.'”
Fox reported that the incident sparked protests outside the school, and 73,000 individuals signed a petition in support of Lopez.