Highland HS senior says she wasn’t allowed to wear military stole during graduation ceremony

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Graduation is one of the most important milestones in a student’s school career and to celebrate accomplishments, but a few students at Highland High School say they were deprived of that when they weren’t allowed to wear their military stoles with their gown during Thursday’s graduation ceremony.

Jasmin Oropeza has been a member of the Navy’s delayed entry program for the past six months.

She was very excited to receive her stole as it represents all the hard work she put in.

When she posted pictures of it on social media, she was approached by another classmate asking if she was going to be allowed to wear it during graduation. The other student said, Principal Debra Vigstrom, told him he wasn’t allowed to wear his.

Oropeza says she informed her military recruiter about it and that he went to talk to a counselor about it.

According to Oropeza, the counselor told the recruiter Principal Vigstrom made the decision.

“We work really hard for this day to graduate and for us to not be able to represent what we accomplish, our future, everything. It was heart-breaking,” Oropeza said.

17 News reached out to the Kern High School District’s Public Information Officer Erin Briscoe about the issue and she said: “Beyond the traditional cap and gown, graduation attire is a decision made by the individual’s school site’s administration.”

Oropeza said that bands from other school clubs like AVID and JROTC were also taken away before going on stage Thursday. She said students were told they would be returned the following day.

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