The Orchard Park School District is responding after a student claims he was not allowed to participate in graduation because he was wearing his Marine Corp sash.
In a letter the Superintendent of Schools wrote that the request had come in from the student just before the ceremony Saturday. Because district officials didn't have advanced notice, they weren't able to change the current policy, which mandates that all students wear the same thing. The district says it looks at the graduating class as a cohesive group, and that sashes, cords, and individually decorated caps are not allowed to be part of the ceremony. While they weren't allowed to wear anything to set themselves apart, students entering the armed forces were recognized as a group at the graduation ceremony.
The letter went on to say that at the annual senior banquet the week before graduation, students are recognized for their achievements, and those entering the armed forces are recognized by name.
7 Eyewitness News has identified the student at Dillon Donovan. Social Media posts say that when Donovan was told he wasn't allowed to walk the stage with his sash, he chose not to walk at all.
Donovan spoke to The Buffalo News regarding what happened saying, "My graduation is something I would have liked to have experienced, but this is not my most important one," he said. "My most important one is graduation from military boot camp." He also told The Buffalo News he remembered school officials saying students couldn't decorate their caps, but didn't remember hearing anything about sashes.
Orchard Park Superintendent of Schools Matthew McGarrity ended his letter by saying that the concern over the weekend's event will "prompt further discussion" of graduating ceremonies moving forward.