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Bridgeport High reverses course, allows students to wear military honors at graduation

Published: May. 27, 2022 at 5:45 PM EDT
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BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) - A decision at Bridgeport High School has parents upset with the administration.

During an award ceremony for the class of 2022 a school official told students who were enlisting in the military they couldn’t wear their sashes.

That’s when Brooke Carnes, whose son is in the national guard, stood up.

“He had been given a national guard stole to wear with his hat and gown. He had everything else on that he was supposed to wear except that. When all the kids were in line in the cafeteria the principal and one of his assistant principals were going down and making sure all the kids in ROTC and military took their stoles off,” said Carnes.

She and her son Bryce left the ceremony because of this.

She said principal Matthew Demotto told them sashes are only allowed to show academic achievement and that Bryce’s military service didn’t fit that criteria.

It’s a decision that had many up in arms.

Carnes posted about it on Facebook, which has drawn hundreds of comments and shares, including students.

Carnes said the post even got the attention of a board of education member.

“The president of the Harrison County Board of Education, Gary Hamrick, he was very upset. He was appalled actually. His son did the same exact thing my son is doing, he joined his junior year and all that. He’s the one that made it happen. He said Dora Stutler was not aware at the time. I got a very supportive email from her saying that she thanked him for his service and that she made everything right but, it was really Gary Hamrick that made it all worth it.”

Eventually the school changed the decision.

They are now allowing seniors going into service to wear their sash during graduation.

Carnes says she wants to make sure it’s a practice that’s continued into the future.

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