Disgrace: A Uniform Not Good Enough To Wear To A High School Graduation, Even If You Proudly Wear It To Serve Your Country
[guest post by Dana]
A young Marine from New Hampshire, Lance Cpl. Brandon Garabrant, 19, was one of three U.S. service members killed by a roadside bomb Friday morning. Only last year, Brandon Garabrant was graduating from high school.
What makes this story particularly awful is that this fine young man had requested permission to wear his uniform to his commencement exercises. His request had been turned down by school officials. At the time of his request, they attempted to justify their denial:
School officials say they have spoken with the student council, as well as with faculty members with military experience or who have family in the military.
The consensus is that all students should dress alike, and no one should be singled out.
“I think this is a celebration of a class much like a celebration of a team, a group that’s been together,” said Principal Brian Pickering.
Several school officials, including a member of the graduation committee, met with WBZ-TV today.
They say they are thrilled with Brandon’s accomplishment but say graduation is about unity.
There is also concern that if an exception is made, it will open up the door to other requests down the road.
“You begin to wonder where to draw the line,” said Pickering.
Upon hearing of Lance Cpl. Garabrant’s death, Governor Maggie Hassan released a statement:
The entire State of New Hampshire is devastated by the tragic loss of Lance Corporal Brandon Garabrant, who was bravely serving his nation in Afghanistan. Our service men and women courageously sacrifice every day to protect their fellow citizens and defend the enduring value of freedom that is our very core, and in doing so, Lance Corporal Garabrant made the ultimate sacrifice.
Garabrant’s high principal also released a statement on behalf of the school:
On behalf of the entire ConVal community I extend my deepest sympathy to Brandon’s family and friends. We are all shocked and deeply saddened by his passing and we are incredibly grateful for his service to our country.
Suffice it to say, I’m at a loss over this and will only note that the New Hampshire state motto is: Live free or die.
public schools are like a full employment plan for sad unambitious losers who can’t think critically
but that in itself doesn’t explain the rampant sadism and wanton child abusehappyfeet (8ce051) — 6/21/2014 @ 5:27 pm
Perhaps those that would deny this young man his choice of dress for his graduation will attempt to make amends by renaming the High School in his honor…..
It would seem the least that they could do.
Their pride in his service is a wonderful gesture, but a little late.askeptic (8ecc78) — 6/21/2014 @ 5:34 pm
2 – …more…askeptic (8ecc78) — 6/21/2014 @ 5:37 pm
…and then we have the example of that other Lance Corporal – the one who “served with honor and distinction” in Afghanistan.
“theblaze.com” adds this detail
The school told Garabrant then that he could wear his uniform if it was hidden, citing the student council’s desire that all students wear their caps and gowns.*happyfeet (8ce051) — 6/21/2014 @ 5:40 pm
Can you imagine the uproar and claims of racism had a student demanded to wear traditional Arab Muslim garb at the graduation ceremony?WarEagle82 (b18ccf) — 6/21/2014 @ 5:59 pm
Uniform of the day was cap and gown; he should have understood that better than most.nk (dbc370) — 6/21/2014 @ 6:06 pm
Tar-Feathers.Glenn (647d76) — 6/21/2014 @ 6:07 pm
Very sad. Of course they will now portray him as a victim, not a hero, and will certainly allow his uniform to be shown, as a cautionary tale.Patricia (5fc097) — 6/21/2014 @ 6:41 pm
Conformity beats exceptionalism every time.
Get used to it.Ed from SFV (3400a5) — 6/21/2014 @ 7:15 pm
God’s blessings on the hero and his loved ones.Colonel Haiku (2601c0) — 6/21/2014 @ 7:16 pm
If the high school principal shows up at his funeral, I hope someone will discreetly ask him to leave and escort him out.Dr. Weevil (4d1bb9) — 6/21/2014 @ 7:37 pm
I don’t understand the problem. It made just as much sense to insist on a uniform dress at the graduation as it did in the Marines. The Marines would not let him wear his cap and gown instead of their uniform, why should the school let him wear fatigues instead of their uniform? It’s got nothing to do with disrespect. The whole point of a uniform, whether in the Services or at school, is that everyone looks the same, no matter what that same is.
No, I cannot. They would not have allowed it, and that would be that. You have absolutely no basis for imagining otherwise.
What on earth? You are way out of line.
You are out of line too. What gives you the right to impugn this school, and accuse them of such a thing? What basis do you have for supposing it to be anti-war or anti-military?Milhouse (b95258) — 6/21/2014 @ 7:54 pm
I don’t dispute the fact that school administrators can be some of the most mind-numbingly conformist people around, but I lean towards nk’s and Milhouse’s side in this. I think the proper move would have been for young Lance Cpl. Garabrant to wear the cap and gown over his uniform for exactly the duration of the ceremony — not a second before or beyond — and then spend and post-graduate reception proudly wearing the uniform of the USMC. I recall my graduation gown being a cheap piece of polyester that I was forced to wear on a hot June day, and I took the damn thing off immediately after we recessed out of the gymnasium, before even my folks could get a picture of me wearing it. As I recall we were supposed to return them to school the following week, but I convinced one of the secretaries to unlock the front office and let me leave my cap and gown on her desk.
Since we are discussing graduation attire, may I respectfully ask if there is anything more stupid than the President of the United States delivering a commencement attire in full academic regalia? My favorite President will be the one who tells Harvard or Berkeley or Bowdin or whomever, “No, I’m going to wear a regular business suit. You academics can robe it up to your hearts desire.”JVW (feb406) — 6/21/2014 @ 8:32 pm
I’m sad to see this brave and committed young man did not survive his deployment. A friend’s daughter was dating a just signed up Marine when he graduated. Their rules were pretty much the same. Everybody needed to look uniform in their caps and gowns in the procession and on stage. The caps and gowns are a way to make sure no individual’s attire out-shines anybody else’s or stands out in either a good or bad way. The school encouraged this marine to wear his uniform and shiny shoes under his cap and gown for the ceremony so a little of it peeked out in the pictures. And of course later at the after reception sans cap and gown he was able to show off his dress uniform to much admiration. I don’t think he or his parents would have expected anything else. I don’t think the school was out of line in the case I’ve described above or in Lance Cpl. Garabrant’s case either.
RIP, Brandon. Your service and sacrifice are appreciated.elissa (f40916) — 6/21/2014 @ 8:43 pm
well this is the last war related story, I could find related to this:
so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.narciso (3fec35) — 6/21/2014 @ 8:51 pm
I have repeatedly tried to get my comment up, but can’t see the whole thing in the preview box… will try again. Apologies for typose and/or missing words.
The more I’ve considered it, the more I tend to agree with you. The point being, a cap and gown was was the uniform of the day. Period. He had gone through boot and knew this. Also, could he have not worn an Eagle Globe and Anchor pin in his mortarboard as an alternative? I don’t know that that would have met with objection.
I think because he had wanted to wear his uniform with pride at his graduation and subsequently ded wearing said uniform, it makes it all the more grievous. I realize that is an emotional response, but so be it.
Also, as we see the military regularly disparaged these days, it’s further infuriating to see public education officials make such mealy-mouthed statements like, “You begin to wonder where to draw the line”. Because, what other uniform could possibly blur the line?Dana (fe2228) — 6/21/2014 @ 8:57 pm
On the other hand, Millhouse, what would it cost the school district, principals or students if they made an exception at all graduations and permit the wearing of military uniforms? Would anyone be harmed by it? Would there be something un-American about it? Would it somehow diminish the accomplishments of anyone else? I don’t think it would. Rather, I think it just might positively influence other classmates or younger siblings in the audience. I can see a number of positive outcomes in easing the rules to allow a military uniform to be worn at graduation.Dana (fe2228) — 6/21/2014 @ 9:13 pm
I can see both sides of this really. However, you have to remember that schools are now bastions of “Zero Tolerance.” It exists solely so that those in charge never have to make a judgement call. Which ensures that they will never make a mistake. It’s all part of the New Cruelty.Gazzer (6a76d0) — 6/21/2014 @ 9:37 pm
Dana–there is absolutely no way they’d get away with “making an exception at graduations to permit wearing military uniforms” while making everybody else wear caps and gowns. Deep down I think you know this. Somebody’d sue. There would be more exceptions made. Lawyers would get involved. Somebody’d show up in a dashiki or a samurai sarong or something oddball and call it a military uniform. Graduation is an important right of passage. I just love the look and the dignity and the history of the caps and gowns. I think they make graduates and parents feel proud, too, and set a good example for younger siblings in the audience .elissa (f40916) — 6/21/2014 @ 9:44 pm
elissa, while you may be right in that it would never come to pass, that does not mean that it would not be an overall positive thing. Also, I really don’t know what other exceptions would rate. But yes, lawyers. And more lawyers, most certainly.Dana (fe2228) — 6/21/2014 @ 9:56 pm
when a marine says he’s wearing his uniform to graduation the bitch principal of the failmerican public school needs to learn that what he says can be any of a number of variations of “you bet no problem see you at graduation”
and I’m not one of those people what are given to fetishizing the militaryhappyfeet (8ce051) — 6/21/2014 @ 10:00 pm
Milhouse, he would not have worn fatigues – that is a ‘work’ uniform.askeptic (8ecc78) — 6/21/2014 @ 10:02 pm
The proper uniform for an occasion such as a graduation would have been Dress Blues.
Dress Blues cost good money you need to get your wear out of them as opposed to spending money on a stupid cap n gown you’re only gonna wear once
this is NOT a prosperous country what can indulge in disposable clothings for special occasions you know
this is a food stamp country, and you can’t buy caps and gowns with food stamps, can you?
not yet no how you can’thappyfeet (8ce051) — 6/21/2014 @ 10:04 pm
That’s the whole point of food stamps. No need to go to college.Gazzer (6a76d0) — 6/21/2014 @ 10:26 pm
This ain’t the ’40s children.Ag80 (eb6ffa) — 6/21/2014 @ 10:35 pm
Making any exception destroys the whole point of having a uniform. And if they did make such an exception then they could not refuse any other exception anyone requested. Not only would those wanting other exceptions sue, they’d win hands down. The first amendment would compel them. Indeed, even if someone wanted to come dressed in an enemy “uniform” (not that the enemy has one, but if someone wanted to come in a typical jihadist costume to express sympathy for our enemies, the school would have no choice but to allow it, once they’d made an exception for the US uniform.
Here’s an example: NYC requires a license to sell merchandise on the street. But it makes an exception for veterans. Since the Civil War, veterans are allowed to set up in public space and sell whatever they like without a license. Sounds good, right? But as a result, the federal courts have said that all first-amendment-protected merchandise, i.e. publications, art, religious articles, etc., may also be sold without a license. Newspaper publishers are allowed to put boxes in the street, whether coin-operated or free, to distribute their papers. All because of one innocuous exception.Milhouse (b95258) — 6/21/2014 @ 11:00 pm
When I graduated from high school in 1956, I wore my NYNG uniform under my cap & gown. That was the solution then and should be the solution now. The occassion cals for uniformity of dress – every graduate is treated equally. Before and after the ceremony is different – then let the “peacocks” display their finery. BTW, I had not planned on wearing the uniform. I had been attending a week-end drill and my train ran late. My brother was at the school with my civilian suit but the procession was already forming. I just had time to put on the cap & gown and take my place. If you use a magnifying glass on my class photo, you can see my military brass, otherwise, I look just like my classmates.Michael M. Keohane (8ddb09) — 6/22/2014 @ 3:52 am
If I remember correctly, the Marine Corps agreed with the school. And if the Blaze is accurate, he was wearing his uniform under the gown.Michael Ejercito (becea5) — 6/22/2014 @ 4:05 am
Every school I saw those in Texas and TN do NOT allow the wearing of uniforms – however some rather intelligent administrators have those who are active – bring in the colors at the head of the procession in uniform – more effective and emotional
As to what these people did, well no one wanted nor wised anything to happen to that young man
back to banlandiaEPWJ (1479ca) — 6/22/2014 @ 10:22 am
“Making any exception destroys the whole point of having a uniform.”
Huh. Who knew that Jews wearing a Yamaka with a military uniform destroyed the whole point of that uniform?Taco Shack (cf597b) — 6/23/2014 @ 3:41 am
You have o wear something underneath that cap and gown.Steve57 (334088) — 6/23/2014 @ 4:38 am
Or maybe not.Steve57 (334088) — 6/23/2014 @ 4:40 am
The last two graduations I attended the students modified their caps and gowns. Didn’t see any American flags on the caps or gowns!Hadoop (f7d5ba) — 6/23/2014 @ 4:56 am
I think the emptying of the stands is a metaphor.Steve57 (334088) — 6/23/2014 @ 5:52 am
That’s what the Supreme Court said.Milhouse (b95258) — 6/23/2014 @ 4:20 pm