Many are upset after watching a video of a West Point cadet using her smartphone while marching in the New York 218th military academy's graduation ceremony on May 21 (video below).
The video, posted on the academy’s Facebook page, shows a distracted female cadet marching and looking down at her phone while hundreds of her classmates face ahead.
Many social media users expressed outrage at the woman’s behavior.
Facebook user June Holmes wrote, “I think it is disgraceful , disrespectful , dishonorable , and downright rude.”
Some were particularly upset because the academy stresses teaching its students discipline.
“While academic courses are the building blocks of most typical universities, career development at West Point is geared toward the cadet's goal of being an officer in the United States Army, so military discipline and training are paramount to their officer development,” writes the academy on its website.
Some veterans accused the university of lowering its standards.
“As a veteran, I want to know why are the cadets allowed to use cell phones while in formation? I am embarrassed for them and the new military standards. obviously the uniform does not mean much to them,” wrote Facebook user Shirley Smith.
It wasn’t just the woman who caught attention. Some were upset by the attire worn by other cadets.
“Cadets on phones while marching, some cadets marching in platform heels, others sneakers, some with socks, others not. Great discipline. Is this the best and brightest future leadership of our military?” wondered Mark Browne.
Others were more forgiving, stating people should give the woman a break. Some didn’t seem to notice, simply congratulating the cadets instead.
“Amazing how critical people can be! Bet no one will care what they're wearing when they're overseas fighting for your freedom! CONGRATULATIONS to all our Cadets and God Bless you ALL!” wrote Josephine Garvey Walsh.
As it is not clear why the woman had her phone out, some speculated may have been trying to take a photo of the ceremony.
“You probably would have too had the technology been available when you were that age,” Susan A. Young wrote.