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He Wore a Flag Over Gown, Is Denied Diploma

NC school officials say it's against the rules, but Ever Lopez considers it racism
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 7, 2021 6:20 AM CDT

(Newser) – Another controversy over high school graduation: This one is out of North Carolina, where a senior is being denied his diploma because he draped a Mexican flag over his graduation gown at the ceremony, reports the New York Times. School officials in Asheboro say it has nothing to do with Mexico and is instead all about a dress-code violation. Student Ever Lopez, however, calls it racism. The incident drew national attention after a video clip of the teen wearing the flag at the ceremony went viral, per the Courier-Tribune. The clip shows Lopez having a brief conversation with Asheboro High School principal Penny Brooks as he approaches the stage, during which she asks him to remove the flag. He refuses and leaves the stage empty-handed.

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“I just gotta represent,” says Lopez, whose parents are Mexican immigrants, “I did it for my family. They came over here to give me a better future.” The school district's view: “The heart of the issue is the fact that the student did not follow the established dress code for the event and detracted from the importance and the solemnity of the ceremony,” it says in a statement. "It is grossly unfair for one individual to diminish this event by violating the dress code.” Lopez says he has been told he can receive his diploma if he apologizes but "I ain't apologizing for nothing," he tells Courier-Tribune. "It's you who should be apologizing," he adds of school officials. "You're the one doing wrong." A separate school statement says officials are working with the family to resolve the issue, per the AP. (Read more high school graduation stories.)

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