Student Is Denied High School Diploma for Wearing Mexican Flag

Ever Lopez of Asheboro, N.C., was set to develop into the primary member of his speedy household to graduate from highschool, however as a substitute, he stated, he was denied his diploma as a result of he wore a Mexican flag over his robe at his commencement ceremony this previous week.

Until Mr. Lopez’s title was referred to as on Thursday, the commencement ceremony at Asheboro High School had performed out like some other: A scholar’s title was referred to as, the scholar obtained a diploma holder, handshakes have been exchanged and folks clapped.

But when Mr. Lopez approached the middle of the stage with the red-white-and-green Mexican flag draped over his shoulders, he had a short change with the varsity’s principal, Penny Crooks, drawing boos from the viewers. After a second, Mr. Lopez walked off the stage, elevating a fist as he returned to his seat.

The second was captured on video and posted to TikTook by Mr. Lopez’s cousin Adolfo Hurtado, who stated that Ms. Crooks had requested Mr. Lopez to take away the flag and that he refused to take action.

Mr. Lopez, who was born within the United States to Mexican-immigrant dad and mom, stated in an interview on Sunday that he wore the flag as a result of he’s pleased with his Mexican roots.

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Mr. Lopez with members of his household. His mom, Margarita Lopez, stated the choice to withhold his diploma “was an act of racism, not just to my son but to the entire Hispanic community.”

“The flag means everything to me and my family because it’s what is in our blood,” he stated. “It’s where we came from, and I’d do anything to represent.”

In a second video that Mr. Hurtado posted to TikTook, Ms. Crooks, flanked by 4 law enforcement officials, is seen escorting Mr. Lopez and his household out of the varsity after the ceremony. “He and his parents can come back tomorrow, and we can talk about it,” Ms. Crooks says within the video, which has been considered greater than seven million occasions. “Go on.”

Mr. Hurtado stated that Mr. Lopez and his classmates obtained an empty diploma holder on the commencement ceremony with the expectation that they might choose up their diplomas afterward, earlier than heading house. It was after the ceremony that Mr. Lopez was instructed he was being denied his diploma, Mr. Hurtado stated.

The public college district in Asheboro, which is about 70 miles east of Raleigh, stated in a press release on Friday afternoon that Mr. Lopez had not obtained his diploma as a result of he had violated the varsity’s gown code, and since he had “detracted from the importance and the solemnity of the ceremony.”

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“Graduation is a milestone event and it is grossly unfair for one individual to diminish this event by violating the dress code,” the district stated. “This incident is not about the Mexican flag. Students were encouraged to express their identity by decorating their mortar boards. A number of students followed the protocol and had the Mexican flag and other representations appropriately displayed during the ceremony.”

In an earlier assertion, issued on Friday morning, the varsity district stated it might “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,” the district stated. “We are confident in his abilities and we know he has a bright future ahead of him.”

Mr. Lopez’s mom, Margarita Lopez, stated Ms. Crooks instructed her in an e-mail on Sunday that her son may choose up his diploma this week. But Ms. Lopez stated she and her son additionally needed an apology.

“To me, this was an act of racism, not just to my son but to the entire Hispanic community,” she stated.

ImageThe college district stated it might “continue working to resolve this issue with the student and his family so that he will receive his diploma from Asheboro High School.”Credit…Adolfo Hurtado

A spokeswoman for the varsity declined to supply extra touch upon Sunday. Ms. Crooks didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon Sunday.

Mr. Hurtado’s movies of his cousin’s commencement have drawn thousands and thousands of views on TikTook, and generated help for Mr. Lopez.

“She’s claiming that it was a disruption,” Mr. Hurtado stated of Ms. Crooks, including that his cousin had walked by a number of academics and college officers earlier than taking the stage, and nobody requested him to take off the flag. “Who did it disrupt? Nobody said anything, nobody did nothing. The only person who clearly was disturbed by it was her.”

Kimberly Antonia, whose daughter was a couple of spots in line behind Mr. Lopez, stated she clapped for him as he approached the stage.

“I thought it was awesome seeing a young person so proud of their country,” Ms. Antonia stated. “With that said, I truly think this situation should and could have been handled differently. However, in the moment it wasn’t, and nothing can change that.”