An Indiana high school has barred a graduate from accepting his diploma with his classmates after he showed up at a ceremony wearing a Marine Corps uniform, it was reported on Thursday.
Jacob Dalton Stanley arrived at his Crown Point High School senior class graduation ceremony at Star Plaza Theatre on Tuesday night in Crown Point, Indiana.
Unlike his classmates, however, Stanley arrived in full dress blue Marine uniform, according to The Times of Northwest Indiana.
After graduating in December, Stanley had joined the Marines and completed the corps boot camp on Friday.
He then flied home over the weekend to take part in graduation ceremonies.
Stanley participated in rehearsals with his classmates before the ceremony.
An Indiana high school has barred a graduate, Jacob Dalton Stanley (above), from accepting his diploma with his classmates after he showed up at a ceremony wearing a Marine Corps uniform, it was reported on Thursday
During preparations, he was told by the school principal, Chip Pettit, that he would not be permitted to wear his uniform.
When school officials noticed that Stanley ignored the principal's warning and came to the ceremony in military dress, they turned him away.
Stanley's name was also not read during the traditional handing out of diplomas.
Pettit told The Times that he was following longstanding policy in enforcing a uniform dress code at graduation.
Students are required to appear in standard cap and gown. Those who have earned special distinctions such as exceptional academic achievements or enlistment in military service wear stoles or chords over their gowns.
'This practice has served us well as it has allowed the class to show unity by dressing the same, but also allowing for individual accomplishments to be recognized by wearing stoles and chords,' Pettit said.
'Last night, at our 135th graduation ceremony, students in all of the aforementioned groups wore their gowns, stoles and chords with great pride.
'We have continued wearing the traditional gown as this is the last formal event of the year and a celebration of the time our graduating seniors have spent at Crown Point High School.
'This tradition is not intended to be disrespectful to students, parents, or our community, but as a source of pride for our students.
'It is also not intended to be disrespectful to our students choosing to serve in the military, our active duty servicemen and women and our veterans.
'We are forever grateful for the sacrifices that they make on a daily basis for our freedom,' Pettit said.
The decision by Pettit angered Stanley's classmates.
Leann Tustison, a fellow Crown Point graduate, said it was 'absolutely ridiculous.'
'He's in the military putting his life on the line for us,' she said.
'It's unacceptable that he was not allowed to walk across the stage. If he wants to walk across the stage in his uniform that he worked so hard for and earned, he should have the right to do that. That's his achievement. They honored other people's achievements whether they were in triathlon or other activities,' she said.
Just a few miles away in nearby Hobart, a high school graduate who had also enlisted in the Marine Corps was permitted to wear her military uniform during commencement ceremonies on June 1.
Just a few miles away in nearby Hobart, Ana Kritikos (seen above), a high school graduate who had also enlisted in the Marine Corps was permitted to wear her military uniform during commencement ceremonies on June 1 (left)
Marine Private First Class Kritikos (seen standing in the center), who, like Stanley graduated early so she could enlist, said that she had received full support from high school administrators when she informed them she wanted to wear her uniform
Marine Private First Class Ana Kritikos, who, like Stanley graduated early so she could enlist, said that she had received full support from high school administrators when she informed them she wanted to wear her uniform.
'They have been absolutely amazing. It is OK with the Marines for us to wear our uniforms at high school graduation,' Kritikos said.
'I know the School Board, the principal and superintendent talked about it and were in agreement that I could wear my Marine uniform.'
The school board's superintendent, Peggy Buffington, said that Hobart goes out of its way to recognize graduates who join the military.
'We recognize audience members and future military in our graduates by having them stand. It is always a very special and patriotic moment where the audience roars with applause,' Buffington said.
'This year was especially nice, because Ana Kritikos graduated midterm and landed just in time for the graduation ceremony.
'We did recognize her and the achievements she has made in the Marines, already.
'She is a Private 1st Class Military Occupation Specialist. She is currently serving in Virginia in their specialist class involved with intelligence and started her training in January. We are extremely proud of her accomplishments,' Buffington said.
A spokesman for the US Marine Corps. said the military does not get involved with the dress code for graduations.
'The Marine Corps does not dictate what specific high schoolers can or cannot graduate in,' said Marine Corps Maj. Clark Carpenter.
'That decision is up to school leadership.'