Under the Radar

Florida High School Tells Student to Ditch the Dress Blues at Graduation

Newsome High School Senior Emily Olson is continuing her quest to wear her military uniform to graduation. (Spectrum Bay News 9 image)

Emily Olson enlisted in the Army at age 17. Now she's set to graduate from Newsome HS in Lithia, FL and wants to wear her uniform to the graduation ceremony.

Her high school says students are required to wear a gown to participate in the ceremony but she's welcome to wear the uniform underneath if she wants to.

Emily thinks this about showing what she's accomplished. She told Bay News 9 TV, "My plan for graduation is to wear my dress blues to graduation because its showing my accomplishments. I know all the other kids are going to be wearing their cords on their cap and gown and that’s showing their accomplishments, and I would gladly like to show mine."

Emily's mom Julie Abueg has researched state law and maintains that denying her daughter the right to graduate in uniform is a violation of a Florida statue that says anyone who discriminates against any person wearing a military uniform in a public place is committing a misdemeanor.

What do you think? Should Emily be allowed to wear her uniform? Would making an exception for one student open the door for all kinds of chaotic self-expression by other students? Is the school disrespecting the military or just trying to maintain control over unruly high school kids until they can get them out the door and off their hands?

If you're inspired to pick up a sign, march and chant, the school’s graduation is Tuesday at 9am at the Florida State Fairgrounds Expo Hall. You could make a day of it and stick around for the big Kendrick Lamar show that evening at 7:30pm.

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