A North Carolina high school graduate finally received his diploma on Monday (June 7) after school officials denied giving it to him during his commencement ceremony because he wore a Mexican flag over his gown.
According to ABC News, 18-year-old Ever Lopez was given his high school diploma after he and his parents met with Asheboro High School Principal Penny Crooks. “At the end, you know, we came out with it,” the teen said as he appeared from the school with his diploma. Last week, Lopez sported the Mexican flag over his gown during his graduation ceremony. As he walked up to receive his diploma, the principal asked him to take off the flag.
Once he refused to remove it, Lopez was handed his diploma holder, like the other students. But after walking across the stage, he was denied his actual diploma. The school said that he violated their graduation dress code. Students are allowed to decorate their caps, but “the wearing of a flag of any kind is a violation of the dress code.”
Lopez told ABC News that he wanted to wear the Mexican flag to honor his roots and his parents, who are both Mexican immigrants. He also said there was nothing in the dress code that pertained to flags and that he did nothing wrong.
Prior to entering the school on Monday (June 7) for the meeting with Crooks, Lopez’s mother spoke out, saying that she and her husband were going to demand an apology and their son’s diploma. She also said that they want the graduation dress code policy changed to prevent future issues like this from happening.
On Monday, Asheboro City Schools officials released a statement saying, “The graduate picked up his diploma at Asheboro High School … As with all graduates, we wish him well and we will continue to serve our community in ways that help all young people meet their full potential.”