Enlisted Pennsylvania Student Forbidden to Wear Army Sash at Graduation

Students throw their mortarboards in the air during their graduation photograph at the University of Birmingham degree congregations on July 14, 2009 in Birmingham, England
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Administrators told Central Valley high school senior Toni Kress that she would not be allowed to wear her Army sash at graduation because it does not match school colors.

In Beaver County, Pennsylvania, on June 1, Kress will walk down the aisle with the rest of the graduating class of 2018. But, despite her own mother’s protests, she will respect the school’s decision not to allow her to wear an Army sash over her gown. “If the school says I’m not allowed to wear it, I’m not going to wear it. I’m not going to disrespect the school like that,” Kress said on Fox & Friends. “But if I do have a chance off-stage and I can wear it, I’m going to wear it.”

Her parents are far less impressed with the outcome. Kress’ father, Wayne, expressed his disappointment, saying “She worked hard for this. She went through the ROTC program through the school,” he said. “In today’s world where we have kids out there eating Tide pods, she’s willing to stand up and fight for her country.”

Kress’ mother, Megan, is insistent that Toni wear her sash regardless of the decision. “I’m peeved. I’m very upset because we’re very proud of my daughter,” she said. “I’m very disgusted I was told no. … My daughter has a right to show her pride in the military service.” She insists that her daughter “earned her spot,” and “will be wearing it” either way.

Principal Shawn McCreary has maintained his position. “Our graduation is a formal ceremony,” he said, and the school “[does not] permit students to wear anything on their gowns that depicts what their future plans may be.” Students entering the military are still individually recognized during the ceremony, then asked to stand amidst a medley of military service songs. “I think we do a very good job at our commencement ceremony honoring the past, present and future military members,” he said.

 

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