Chelsey Ramer was recently denied her high school diploma and fined $1000 for wearing an Indian feather at her high school graduation ceremony (video below).
Ramer is a member of the Poarch Creek Band of Indians and the feather is part of her Native American heritage.
Ramer, 17, attends Escambia Academy High School in Atmore, Ala.
“I don’t think it’s fair at all,” Ramer told Local 15. “I feel like it's discrimination.”
The school sent a contract to her and other students, which stated: "Students and staff shall not wear extraneous items during graduation exercises unless approved by the administration."
However, Ramer never signed the contract.
“About two months ago, me and the other Indian seniors from the graduating class asked our headmaster if we could wear the feathers on our caps,” Ramer told the Indian Country Today Media Network. “She told us ‘no’ and that if we did, she would pull us off the field.”
Ramer still attended and walked in the ceremony with her feather.
Betty Warren, the headmaster who denied Ramer’s request, has reportedly been replaced by David Walker, who coaches the girls' basketball team.
“He said if it was up to him, he would give me my diploma,” Ramer said. “But he had to go through the board to get it approved.”
Ramer's former teacher, Alex Alvarez, said "Being honored with a feather for graduation is a wonderful experience. It's a lot more than showing off your culture. It has ties into our spirituality as well."