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Asheboro High student denied his diploma over Mexican flag

High school senior says he was denied his diploma because of Mexican flag


Ever Lopez and his family say they hope to have an open dialogue with the school system.

ASHEBORO, N.C. — UPDATE: Monday at 11 a.m., Ever Lopez and his family will hold a press conference. The family said they want to have an open dialogue with Asheboro City Schools following the graduation incident. Lopez said he was denied his diploma because he wore a Mexican flag over his gown, which violated the dress code. Asheboro City Schools said it is going to re-evaluate its policy for future graduations. 

Ever Lopez, 18, of Asheboro has inspired protest online and in front of Asheboro High after an incident at his graduation ceremony Thursday.

The graduating senior said he was denied his diploma right as he walked onto the stage.

Video from a member of the audience showed Lopez walking in the line of fellow graduation Class of 2021 members robed in blue gowns.

When Lopez gets to the front where the principal is handing out the diplomas, there is a pause and the line is held up as a conversation ensues.

Then shortly after, Lopez walks away with only his diploma holder but gets applause from the audience.

Lopez said he was told the diploma was not handed to him because of the Mexican flag he was wearing over his graduation gown.

He also said he was told he’d have to apologize.

In a statement from Asheboro City Schools, a spokesperson said “the district strongly supports our students’ expressions of their heritage in the appropriate time and place.”

“Our graduation dress code is clearly shared with students ahead of time and the wearing of a flag of any kind is a violation of the dress code,” the statement read.

Lopez said he read the policy but didn’t see the reference about flags not being allowed. He also said throughout graduation, no school officials came up to him or pulled him aside to tell him the flag would not be allowed when he walked onto the stage.

The school district said it would make arrangements with Lopez to receive his diploma. 

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See the full statement from Asheboro City Schools.

“First and foremost, we strongly support our students’ expressions of their heritage at the appropriate time and place. Our graduation dress code is clearly shared with students ahead of time, and the wearing of a flag of any kind is a violation of the dress code. In the past two years, we have allowed students to decorate their mortarboards as a nod to their individuality and creativity. We are very clear with students that this was the ONLY acceptable deviation from the standard cap and gown regalia. Unfortunately, we will now be reevaluating that decision for future senior classes in light of the situation that occurred last night.

We continue working to resolve this issue with the student and his family so that he will receive his diploma from Asheboro High School. He has worked very hard and we commend him on this great achievement. We are confident in his abilities and we know he has a bright future ahead of him.

The accusations being made about our school and district are disheartening. We work with each student daily to ensure they receive rigorous instruction, equitable opportunity, and compassionate care in a safe and inviting learning environment. Across our school and district, we are passionate about seeing all students succeed.”

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