California High School Forbids Soldier Right To Graduate In Uniform

BRENTWOOD,CA – June 10th, 2017.

Liberty Union High School student Harland Fletcher enlisted last year as an army medic on his 17th birthday and subsequently completed his Basic Combat Training during the summer between his junior and senior years of high school, commonly known as the “split option”.

During his senior year he approached school officials about graduating in his Army Service Uniform and was given permission, but when graduation came yesterday he was pulled aside by Principal Patrick Walsh and Vice Principal Sandra Guardado and told he had to wear the school’s robes to the ceremony. Fletcher objected to this and politely cited the relevant portion of the State Education Code which explicitly permits his right to wear his service uniform. School Officials stated their policy was superior to his legal rights and Fletcher chose to leave instead of making a scene. The photo above is him at his “graduation” at his residence instead of at the school he attended for years. He was invited to pick his diploma up from the school office this coming Monday.

Liberty Union High School is a part of the Brentwood Union School District

Principal Walsh can be reached at [email protected] and we invite a response from him.

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For those of you interested in exercising your legal rights in the future, the full text of the State Code is below:

Assembly Bill No. 1463
CHAPTER 296

An act to add Section 35183.3 to the Education Code, relating to high school graduation.

[ Approved by Governor October 11, 2009. Filed with Secretary of State October 11, 2009. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

AB 1463, Smyth. High school graduation: military uniforms.

Existing law prescribes the requirements for a pupil to earn a diploma of graduation from high school, including the completion of a specified course of study and passage of the high school exit examination.

This bill would provide that a pupil who has fulfilled all of the requirements to receive a diploma of graduation from high school pursuant to state law, is otherwise eligible to participate in the high school graduation ceremony, and has completed the basic training for, and is an active member of, a branch of the United States Armed Forces, has the right to wear the dress uniform issued to him or her by that branch while participating in the graduation ceremony for his or her high school.

Digest Key
Vote: MAJORITY Appropriation: NO Fiscal Committee: NO Local Program: NO

Bill Text

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

SECTION 1. Section 35183.3 is added to the Education Code, to read:

35183.3. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a person shall have the right to wear a dress uniform issued to him or her by a branch of the United States Armed Forces while participating in the graduation ceremony for his or her high school if that person meets both of the following requirements:

(a) He or she has fulfilled all of the requirements of this code for receiving a diploma of graduation from high school, and is otherwise eligible to participate in the graduation ceremony.

(b) He or she has completed basic training for, and is an active member of, a branch of the United States Armed Forces.