High school criticized after Marine boot was denied walking at graduation in uniform

A suburban Chicago school district is facing criticism after officials denied a recent graduate permission to walk in the graduation ceremony wearing her Marine dress blues.

According to NBC New York, students of McHenry High School West Campus say that recently graduated Marine Megan Howerton was denied the walk in Thursday’s ceremony, with the school claiming her dress blues were a dress code violation.

Within a short time of the news spreading on social media, the incident sparked controversy and gave birth to the hashtag #Letmeganwalk.

McHenry Community High School District 156 addressed the issue Friday, saying “the attention related to last night’s graduation ceremony at McHenry High School West Campus is unfortunate and draws attention away from the collective achievements of the Class of 2016.”

“The district and administration in no way looked to prevent the participation of this graduate or any graduate who has chosen to serve our nation,” the statement read. “Rather, the administration communicated in advance via letter, senior meeting, and practice, all the protocols expected of graduates, including attire. In some past cases, active-duty students elected to wear their gowns over top of their military uniforms, with their military hats, which was allowed. There was no communication to the administration that attire protocols would not be followed prior to the ceremony. The tradition of cap and gown regalia is aimed at the idea that our graduates are celebrated as a whole and in similar attire.”

However, according to the US Marine Corps Uniform Board, wearing a cap and gown over a uniform is not allowed.

“McHenry Community High School has a long standing history of avid support for our military branches of service,” the school said in a statement. “This includes individual recognition of enlistees at the graduation ceremony itself, including enlistees in the presentation of the colors, and special recognition to all veterans in the audience. In addition, the cooperation with recruiters year-round, a day-long, Veteran’s Day program in our schools each year, and a variety of community service partnerships with local veteran’s groups are priorities of the district.”

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  • Andy Wolf

    Andy Wolf is an Appalachian native who spent much of his youth and young adulthood overseas in search of combat, riches, and adventure- accruing decades of experience in military, corporate, first responder, journalistic and advisory roles. He resides in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains with his K9 companion, Kiki.

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