WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A graduating senior who wore the Mexican flag over his graduation gown was denied his diploma.
- According to school authorities, the student violated the school’s dress code that prohibits wearing a flag of any kind.
- The school is demanding an apology from the student.
A graduating senior from North Carolina was denied his diploma for wearing a Mexican flag at graduation.
Adolfo Hurtado posted a TikTok video of his cousin, Ever Lopez, wearing a Mexican flag draped over his gown as he walked down the stage at Asheboro High during their graduation ceremony, when a faculty member appeared to stop him.
The video also showed that Lopez initially tried to take off the flag, but he decided to keep it on after getting encouragement from members of the audience. The school’s Facebook account live-streamed the ceremony.
In a separate video, Hurtado said his cousin didn’t get his diploma, and that the teacher is demanding an apology.
Lopez and Hurtado did not respond to requests for comments.
Alethea Hill, 20, a sister of one of Lopez’s close friends, said she and her family booed when the school principal, Penny Crooks, stopped Lopez as he walked up the stage. Then the crowd behind Hill’s family started booing too.
Lopez only received his diploma holder without the diploma after the ceremony, said Hill.
Lopez’s family members reached out to the district superintendent, who was also in attendance during the ceremony, who told the family that the decision was up to the principal. The family eventually talked with Crooks who told them that the student violated the dress code and needs to apologize to be able to receive his diploma.
Hurtado also posted a video showing the police escorting Lopez’s family outside after they left the principal’s office.
People who were at the ceremony and watched the TikTok videos are calling out the school leaders for racism. But a statement from the school says the incident is “not about the Mexican flag”, and that the student violated the dress code that prohibits the wearing of a flag of any kind.
According to some witnesses, other students who decorated their caps and gowns with the Mexican flag weren’t reprimanded. An AOL report says that students planned a protest at the high school on Friday, and have gathered 20,000 signatures petitioning that Lopez be given his diploma.
The district said officials are working to “resolve the issue with the student and family so that he will receive his diploma,” and that it would reevaluate its dress code.