A U.S. Marine has said he just wants to move on after his high school in Indiana refused to allow him to walk on stage with his uniform to accept his diploma.
Pfc. Jacob Stanley's school, Crown Point High School, has a policy that requires students to be dressed in cap and gown to receive their diplomas, NBC Chicago reported.
"I don't want the social media controversy that is drawing attention away from the Class of 2017," Stanley said in a statement, according to NBC. "I also do not want to make any additional statements and wish to put this all behind me so I can start my career in the Marine Corps."
Stanley's name was included in the graduation program, but officials did not read out his name during the ceremony.
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Principal Chip Pettit said the decision did not amount to the school taking a position on Stanley's military service.
"This tradition is not intended to be disrespectful to students, parents, or our community, but as a source of pride for our students," added Pettit. "It is also not intended to be disrespectful to our students choosing to serve in the military, our active duty servicemen and women, and our veterans."
"We are forever grateful for the sacrifices that they make on a daily basis for our freedom," Pettit added.
Pettit pointed out that classmates wishing to show their accomplishments were allowed to wear stoles and chords.
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Sgt. Tyler Mitchell, of the Marine Corps Recruiting Station in Indianapolis, downplayed the controversy in a statement. He noted the Marines were proud to have Stanley as a member and that he wished to wear the uniform.
"We also recognize that there are policies in place which outline graduation dress codes and the appropriate wear of Marine Corps uniforms when in public," added Mitchell. "As high school graduations recognize the academic accomplishments of the class and the class's final chapter at that institution, the decision to allow individuals to wear uniforms during graduations is at the discretion of the school."
Things turned out differently at another Indiana high school, Hobart High, where Pfc. Ana Kritikos was allowed to accept her diploma while dressed in uniform.
"They have been absolutely amazing. It is OK with the Marines for us to wear our uniforms at high school graduation," Kritikos told the Northwest Indiana Times. "I know the school board, the principal and superintendent talked about it and were in agreement that I could wear my Marine uniform."
School Superintendent Peggy Buffington said the school had long embraced the tradition.
"We recognize audience members and future military in our graduates by having them stand. It is always a very special and patriotic moment where the audience roars with applause," Buffington added.