Patriotic Valley Teen Told to Remove Hat at School

November 6, 2008 12:33:56 AM PST
A Valley teen trying to be patriotic was forced to remove his hat at school. Now his parents are outraged and claim the dress code is keeping their son from honoring veterans.On Election Day morning 17-year old Christopher Evans showed up at Buchanan high with this U.S. Marines hat. Evans's family has a long proud history of service.

"My grandfather was a world war 2 pilot. My step-dad here is a retired Marine served 21 years. Served country proud and I'm proud of that," said Evans.

But the hat does not comply with Clovis Unified's strict dress code: The only hats that can be worn must bear a school logo. Evans was told give it up.

"I was somewhat shocked. I could not believe that they would take this hat away from him," said Sam Keeney.

Evans step-father says he doesn't understand why Clovis Unified and Buchanan would take issue with the hat. After all the school has a memorial monument that honors its six former graduates killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. And the school recently renamed its football venue Veterans Memorial stadium.

"I support my son in lieu in the time of year that it is being veterans' observance week. He has the right to convey how he feels," said Keeney.

"We're very very proud of our military here at Buchanan high school," said Ricci Ulrich.

Buchanan high principal Ricci Ulrich could not discuss specific student cases but said the dress code is designed to protect the academic environment.

"They can wear things that are affiliated with the military it's just that it can not be anything but school hats," said Ulrich.

In other words a shirt that says "Marines" on it is okay, but a hat isn't.

Evans was given his hat back at the end of school. His step-father wants to meet with the school board to discuss updating rules about wearing patriotic hats.

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