ELK GROVE (CBS13) — An Elk Grove school says it regrets how a student was escorted from a graduation ceremony, but maintains students and parents were told what to wear and what not to wear for the ceremony.

The Elk Grove Unified School District released a statement on Friday explaining why 18-year-old Cosumnes High School graduate Nyree Holmes was escorted by police out of a graduation ceremony.

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Holmes says he was wearing a cultural cloth from Ghana when a school official told him to remove it. Holmes refused to take it off. District officials did not say why Holmes was confronted after walking the stage, rather than earlier in the night.

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In its statement, the district says school officials “were not given the opportunity to discuss with the family the student’s desire to wear the cloth,” implying it may have allowed Holmes to wear the stole had they been made aware.

The district says Holmes was removed after he walked across the stage and posed for a picture with the principal while wearing the stole. He was later given his diploma.

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FULL STATEMENT

During a high school graduation ceremony held at the Sleep Train Arena located in Sacramento, CA on May 24, 2016, a Cosumnes Oaks High School (COHS) student was prohibited from participating in the remainder of the school’s graduation ceremony for refusing to follow direction of school officials who were attempting to uphold the established dress code and for ignoring repeated requests to remove unauthorized non-school award regalia.

Generally speaking, it is within the District’s discretion and prerogative to impose rules for graduation ceremony dress code and attire which apply generally to all students, and which do not discriminate against any specific student viewpoint. That rule and standard has been in place for decades in EGUSD, and was in place for COHS’s graduation ceremony, just like for other District high school commencement ceremonies.  All students and families were made aware of these rules before the COHS ceremony. The District regrets how events unfolded in this instance; however there was no intent to discriminate against the student, as the same rules apply to every graduate.

The student was allowed to walk across the stage to be recognized and took a formal picture with the principal wearing the Kente cloth. Later, the student was allowed to return to the area where students received their diplomas. The student was given his diploma.

The District’s approved graduation uniform is a cap and gown. Students may wear, stoles, cords or medals that have been earned and awarded to students at prior ceremonies.  Unfortunately, prior to the COHS graduation ceremony, school officials were not given the opportunity to discuss with the family the student’s desire to wear the cloth.

All Cosumnes Oaks High School seniors and their parents received written and verbal communication on multiple occasions from school officials that reminded students regarding appropriate graduation ceremony attire.