A petition has gained thousands of signatures after a graduating senior was denied his diploma for adorning a Mexican flag.
The petition urges North Carolina school officials to give Ever Lopez, eighteen, his rightful diploma…
It was the viral video of Asheboro High School’s graduation last Thursday that sparked huge uproar after Lopez was seen walking across the stage with the flag over his robes.
When he reached his principal, it appears he refused to give him his diploma, resulting in a large gathering of students behind him…
The school has since made it known that the diploma is available for Lopez to collect and that they have made “multiple attempts,” to reach the family for its collection.
“I did it for my family. They came over here to give me a better future,” Lopez told the Courier-Tribune after the ceremony.
Lopez said he was not confronted about the flag that he had draped over him from the start of the ceremony until he reached his principal, and was later told it was a distraction.
Asheboro school officials have since defended their decision to withhold Lopez’s diploma, saying his choice to wear the flag goes against their dress policy.
After the video went viral, many students on social media spoke out against the school, with supporters gathering outside with signs saying: “Free Ever’s Diploma” and “honk if you’re not racist!”
Meanwhile, a Change petition called “Give this man his diploma” was launched last Friday and now has over 100,000 signatures.
“Ever Lopez was wearing a Mexican flag during his graduation and didn’t receive his diploma,” the petition stated. “This is unacceptable, this man worked his butt off for HIS diploma.”
Leigh Anna Marbert, public information officer for Asheboro City Schools, said Monday that Lopez’s diploma has already been made available for him to collect.
In a statement released on Friday afternoon, Asheboro City Schools maintained their decision was “not about the Mexican flag.”
“The heart of the issue is the fact that the student did not follow the established dress code for the event and detracted from the importance and the solemnity of the ceremony,” it said. “Our dress code is in place to ensure the dignity of the event is upheld and is fair to all students.”
An earlier statement said: “Our graduation dress code is clearly shared with students ahead of time, and the wearing of a flag of any kind is a violation of the dress code.”
However, in an email sent by Principal Penny Crooks to students about graduation attire, nothing was reportedly mentioned about the wearing of flags.
“We are very clear with students that this was the ONLY acceptable deviation from the standard cap and gown regalia,” the school district’s statement said. “Unfortunately, we will now be reevaluating that decision for future senior classes in light of the situation that occurred last night.”
In the statement, officials said they “continue working to resolve this issue with the student and his family so that he will receive his diploma from Asheboro High School.
“He has worked very hard and we commend him on this great achievement. We are confident in his abilities and we know he has a bright future ahead of him.”
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