California student barred from walking at graduation in Army Service Uniform

BRENTWOOD, Calif. (KRON) — A 17-year-old California student was banned from participating in his high school’s graduation ceremony on Friday over a dispute involving his Army Service Uniform, according to a family member.

Harland J. Fletcher is a US Army Reserve Medic for the state of California.

According to his father, Bill Fletcher, his son enlisted in the army on his 17th birthday.

Harland participated in the army’s “Split Option” program, that allows students to attend basic combat training.

The teen’s father said on June 9th, his son was informed by several faculty members at Liberty Union High School that he would not be allowed to walk unless he wore a robe over the uniform.

Harland was told by his counselor prior to graduation that he could wear his uniform in lieu of the graduation robe.

Image courtesy of KRON

According to California’s Education Code:

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:
SECTION 1. Section 35183.3 is added to the Education Code, to read:
35183.3. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a person shall
have the right to wear a dress uniform issued to him or her by a branch of
the United States Armed Forces while participating in the graduation
ceremony for his or her high school if that person meets both of the following
(a)  He or she has fulfilled all of the requirements of this code for receiving
a diploma of graduation from high school, and is otherwise eligible to
participate in the graduation ceremony.
(b)  He or she has completed basic training for, and is an active member
of a branch of the United States Armed Forces.

Harland declined the school’s offer to wear the robe and advised faculty of the state’s education code.

According to his father, Harland was told that he “can pick up the diploma in the office on Monday.”

Fletcher expressed his frustration with his son not being allowed to walk in his Army Reserve Uniform.

Image courtesy of KRON

“I am 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 behalfs,” Fletcher said.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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