A viral post has brought attention to the recent graduation ceremony at Hastings High School.
A sash is the center of controversy after one Hastings student said she was told she couldn’t wear it at graduation.
“So this sash I’m wearing now was given to me by my recruiter sergeant Workman and he gave it to me so that I can wear it at my graduation ceremony. Kind of as something to show off and be proud of,” said Hastings High School graduate Megan Pohlmeier.
On Sunday, a post on Facebook regarding Pohlmeier’s Army sash went viral eventually grabbing the attention of nearly three thousand people within 48 hours.
“People aren’t stopping to check what actually happened,” said Hastings Public School Superintendent Craig Kautz. “They’re believing whatever is posted and I’m not sure why.”
Kautz said the post was inaccurate when it stated students were being allowed to sport items from future institutions.
“I think the symbols that people did see, because there were symbols, there were sashes and medals but there were all signs of accomplishments while in our high school,” Kautz said.
While Kautz said the reason the principal denied Pohlmeier’s request because if he allows an exception to Hastings High School display only, he will then have to allow more exceptions.
“I’m in the army, this is what I’m doing and I’m really proud of what I’m doing, and I feel like he just took that opportunity away from me,” Pohlmeier said.
After getting a no, Pohlmeier said she decided to still bring the sash to graduation but only to wear it before and after for pictures.
“About 10 to 20 mins before graduation starts, he comes up to me and pulls me out of line. He [Principal Thomas Szlanda] goes, ‘Miss Polmeier, I told you and your father that you can’t be wearing this.’ He didn’t give me a chance to explain that I was going to tuck it away in underneath and that I was going to pull it out afterwards. I wasn’t going to wear it in the ceremony and I was going to respect his decision. He told me I had to give it to my family and if he saw me wearing it again, I wasn’t going to receive my diploma,” Pohlmeier said.
Kautz wants to set the record set.
“Did we deny a student the ability to wear a sash provided by the army? Yes, that’s true but that wasn’t an attempt to be unpatriotic or disrespectful to our armed forces,” Kautz said.
The superintendent said if this really meant a lot to her, she had time to appeal the principal’s decision before graduation.
“The best idea is if you don’t believe an administrator has made the right decision, you need to appeal that to the next higher up,” Kautz said. “That would’ve been me and if you didn’t like that you could’ve gone to the Board of Education committee”
Kautz said the district will continue to have discussions on graduation dress policies so that something like this doesn’t happen again.