BRENTWOOD, Calif. (Rob Malcom/KTVU) - A Bay Area teenager was not allowed to walk in his high school graduation because he wanted to wear his Army Service Uniform -- an act the school district later apologized for, but a day too late.
PFC Harland J Fletcher is a student at Liberty Union High School in Brentwood. Fletcher says he was told he was not allowed to walk in his high school graduation on Friday unless he was wearing his graduation robe, not his Army Service uniform.
"I was really disappointed," he told KTVU. "I felt disrespected."
Fletcher, a US Army Reserve Medic, attended Basic Combat Training between his junior and senior year of high school, enlisting on his 17th birthday, the earliest day possible. This option is known as a "Split Option".
Fletcher says his counselor approved him wearing his Army Service Uniform during the graduation ceremony on Friday. When he arrived to the ceremony, Fletcher says he was told by the principal and vice principal that he must wear the robe in place of his uniform.
Fletcher says he told school administrators that wearing his "blues" was within his rights as long as he fulfilled all school requirements and completed basic training.
Fletcher says he was then told that he "can pick up the diploma in the office on Monday."
Fletcher's father, Bill Fletcher, stated he is "tired of service members and vets being quietly and systematically denied rights by establishments that should know, respect and abide by the laws enacted on all of our behalf."
Late Saturday Liberty Union High School District Supt. Eric Volta issued an apology.
There was no intention to "slight" Harland or the US Army, the statement read. "In fact, with a little prior notification, I'm sure that Principal Walsh and the site administration would have come to this conclusion before the ceremony. Again, I apologize to Harland for this unfortunate incident and thank him for his service to our country."