California high school apologizes for banning student's military uniform

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Liz Cho reports on a high school senior and private in the U.S. Army not being allowed to wear his military blues at his graduation ceremony. (KGO-TV)

A high school in Brentwood, California, has issued a public apology after a senior who also happens to be a private in the U.S. Army wasn't allowed to wear his military blues at his graduation ceremony Friday.

Harley Fletcher -- who is no ordinary Private First Class and Army Reservist after completing basic training at 17 -- was told that if he didn't put the traditional cap and gown, he couldn't walk with his class.

Unfortunately, he missed his graduation ceremony at Liberty High School after showing up in uniform. He missed the excitement, the energy, the camaraderie because of what he was wearing.

"He basically told me this is a graduation ceremony, you're not allowed to wear that uniform," Fletcher said. "'You're supposed to wear a cap and gown.'"

School administrators even told Harley he could borrow a cap and gown, but he refused to cover up his uniform and left.
"I just couldn't," mom Regina Fletcher said. "I was in disbelief to see my husband devastated, my son devastated. Being told he couldn't wear his uniform was just crushing."

Late Saturday, Liberty High School's superintendent released an apology, citing state legislation that allows a high school student who has completed basic training to wear a uniform at graduation.

"No slight was meant to Harland nor to the U.S. Army," the superintendent wrote. "In fact, with a little prior notification, I'm sure that Principal Walsh and the site administration would have come to this conclusion before the ceremony."

That's not true, said the Fletchers.

"He had spoken to his counselor several times over the weeks leading up to the graduation," dad Bill Fletcher said. "She'd advised him yes, it's acceptable."

Harley plans to pick up his diploma on Monday. He also hasn't ruled out the possibility of filing a lawsuit against the school district.

Related Topics:
educationhigh schoolgraduationmilitarymilitary uniformsuniforms
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