By Rachel Wulff


MODESTO (CBS13) — Seniors like to strut their stuff on graduation day, but some at Modesto’s Thomas Downey High School feel their celebration was squelched after they were banned from wearing their military sashes.

They couldn’t speak on camera but others spoke for them.

Junior Bianca Virgin is an incoming junior whose brother is a marine. She can’t believe some seniors entering the armed services were not able to walk the stage during graduation ceremonies and collect their diplomas wearing their military sashes.

“I am kinda surprised, to be honest with you,” Virgin said. “They signed up for it they are fighting for our country and they should be able it show they are the ones fighting for us.”

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Parents we spoke with agree, saying students are encouraged to showcase where they will be heading at other school sponsored events.

”I do think it’s a bunch of crap they are not able to express where they are going,” said parent Tanisha Benton.

Students who had joined the armed services referred us to their higher command. In one instance, CBS13 received this statement from the U.S. Navy: “The graduation military sash is an honorable way to showcase the selfless decision these young men and women have made to serve their Navy and nation. They represent the best, brightest, morally-centered, selfless young adults America has to offer.”

But according to the Modesto school district, students sign a graduation ceremony contract that says “Caps and gowns shall be without any personal or group adornment including corsages, except district approved cords or tassels.”

“We like to keep all our students uniform on their graduation day and celebrating what they have accomplished,” said Becky Fortuna with Modesto City Schools.

This comes after a new law passed this year, which allows students to wear cultural or religious adornments. The school board says it will update its board policy.

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