View Full Version : Principal defends decision to bar military uniforms from graduation

05-04-05, 02:32 PM
Principal defends decision to bar military uniforms from graduation
By Tim Robertson
The Pilot News
May 4, 2005

PLYMOUTH - According to Plymouth High School Principal Richard Tobias, the school corporation's decision to disallow students to wear military uniforms instead of caps and gowns to graduation is a matter of unity.

Ted and Suzanne Grubbs, parents of PHS graduate and Marines PFC David Walker, approached Tobias last month requesting that her son be allowed to wear his Marines dress blues to graduation. As the military does not allow soldiers to cover their dress uniforms, wearing the dress blues under a graduation gown is not an option. In a letter to the Pilot News, Grubbs claimed her son "earned the right to graduate in his Marine dress blues."

Tobias said, Tuesday, the caps and gowns worn at the graduation ceremony signify belonging to an accomplished group of graduates. "We don't like to single out individuals at commencement," Tobias said. "We want to honor them as a group; we want them to be represented as a class."

Tobias said for at least the past 30 years, the senior class has selected which color gowns they would like to wear as a class at commencement and attending graduates have been required to wear the gowns.

In her letter, Suzanne Grubbs said, since her son has entered the Marines, he should be able to represent the Marines at graduation instead of the Class of 2005. "He's no longer a civilian, he's a Marine," said Ted Grubbs, reached by phone Tuesday.

Tobias said "The military requires soldiers to wear certain uniforms to military events," said Tobias. "It's the same for us at graduation. To me, the request to wear something different is more an indication of wanting to be singled out for recognition instead of being recognized as part of the group."

Grubbs said she doesn't feel her son is asking for special recognition. "He is asking for something he has earned, the right to graduate in his Marines dress blues," she said.

Tobias said the school's decision is not unpatriotic. He said it was with the school's cooperation that Walker was able to graduate early and enter the Marines. "For this particular student we worked out a special schedule where he could take class on a basis where he could graduate on time to get into the Marines," Tobias said. "I have also arranged for graduates who are in the armed services to be given red, white and blue cords to wear with their graduation gowns that will identify them as a member of the armed service."

Ted Grubbs said it is uncertain whether his son will be able to get leave to attend graduation, but he said he still feels it's an important issue. "This isn't just about David, this is for anyone," he said. "Even if David doesn't get to do this, we want to be sure that if someone else comes up with this request, that it'll be honored."


05-04-05, 03:12 PM
Originally posted by thedrifter
[In a letter to the Pilot News, Grubbs claimed her son "earned the right to graduate in his Marine dress blues."[/B]

Wrong, her son earned the right to wear his dress blues, period. Just because she wants everybody to see how special he is, still does not make him different from the other graduates. High school graduation is about recognizing a group of people as they move from one period of life to another.

To me, this seems less of a decision against the military, and more of a decision against overzealous parents.

Let the battle begin. :rambo:

05-04-05, 04:49 PM
Right on, lprkn!

As Marines, we are taught to dress for the occasion. The appropriate dress for a high school graduate is a cap and gown - period.

I think his SgtMaj should remind him just how one is expected to dress for each occasion. To me, it's as easy to figure out as wearing a pair of swim trunks to go swimming - but some people just can't get it right.

05-04-05, 05:01 PM
Yep, overzealous parents can even ruin a perfect game of t-ball. LOL

05-04-05, 05:10 PM
Lprkn hit it out of the park.

05-04-05, 06:22 PM
I don't think that this was even something necessarily to do with the Marines... as Marines, I doubt they would've pressed the issue... sounds more to me like the parents are the problem.

05-04-05, 06:40 PM
I do have to agree with all the marines and the school principal on this one. Like he said, its the uniform of the day. This marine's parents have every right to be proud, but they have to know when to check thier pride at the door. I wish I would have gotten red, white and blue chords to wear with my cap and gown when I graduated. I left for boot camp 3 hours after my ceremony ended.

05-05-05, 10:47 AM
While he may be proud of his uniform, he apparently hasn't yet learned that there is a chain of command and that that chain of command makes decisions that all must follow. The principal's reasons don't seem out of line. He certainly has the authority to make the rules. The parents seem to be teaching their son a lesson that will get him in trouble later on in his career.

Old Marine
05-07-05, 09:13 AM
Has this kid already graduated from boot camp?
If he has graduated from boot camp, what is he doing back in High school. Maybe I got lost in this story.

05-07-05, 10:37 AM

05-07-05, 10:57 AM
I'm also confused why he has already become a Marine, but is now graduating high school.

Phantom Blooper
05-07-05, 03:30 PM
Rules are rules,I like to see mama write a petition for her son to wear his blues instead of charlies when the old man says fall out!

You can graduate early around Christmas with enough credits. Then you are able to persue career ect.. You then can comr back for the formalities of prom,graduation(to get diploma). Don't if all states have it,they have it in NC,started around the 90's. One of my daughter's graduated early with enough credits,went to work and then come end of school went back for her diploma and project graduation

Never made sense to me,once I left I didn't want to go back.

Semper-Fi!"Never Forget" Chuck Hall :marine:

05-07-05, 04:14 PM
myself i'm not sure about the graduating boot camp then graduating high school but i know some of the people in my home town they graduate early but the came back for the actual high school graduation maybe that is what this guy did......

05-07-05, 08:33 PM
The young Marine needs to get in line and follow the orders that are given to him. Graduation states cap and gown and that is what he should wear.
Semper Fi.

05-08-05, 08:47 AM
This town is not to far from where I live. Here's the latest scoop. The board has taken a vote and has decided to let the two young Marines wear their uniforms. However, according to the rules of the board, a second vote must be taken as verification. If/when the vote comes back in the Marines favor will they be allowed to wear their uniforms. Local concesus is that the vote will favor the Marines and they will be allowed to wear their uniforms to graduation. All that being said, at first blush I was a little peeved that they were origianally being denied the right to wear their uniforms. After thinking it over again and reading all of your posts, I've changed my mind and must say that I agree with you all that cap and gown should be worn.

Semper FI

05-08-05, 09:12 AM
Roger that, you wear the uniform that's appropriate to the event. You wear your Marine uniform for your Marine graduation, you wear your hs cap and gown for your hs grad.

05-08-05, 09:15 AM

IS ALWAY RIGHT. The cap and gown is correct. The principal is the OIC and as MARINES we always follow orders. NUFF SAID.

Semper Fi
books :marine:

05-11-05, 01:17 PM
Another Story on this subject.

Board: Marines can wear uniforms at graduation

By Bob Susnjara Daily Herald Staff Writer
Wed May 11, 9:33 AM ET

Two students at Warren Township High School in Gurnee can wear just their dress-blue Marine uniforms instead of caps and gowns at a graduation ceremony later this month.

Warren District 121 board members voted 6-0, with one abstention, to allow any senior to bypass the cap-and-gown rule at the May 28 commencement if they are in a U.S. military-issued uniform and active in the armed forces. Weapons won't be allowed with the military garb.

Tuesday night's decision by the Warren board settled a controversy that started early last month after one of the Marine's mothers, Julie Hamil, made the military uniform request. She said a school administrator initially cited policy in not approving the request last month.

"I'm very pleased," Hamil said of the decision that'll allow her son, Brenten Kostner, 19, and John Shymanik, 17, to wear their Marine dress blues without the caps and gowns. Kostner and Shymanik graduated early in December to join the Marine Corps.

Their mothers said the teens wanted to attend the commencement wearing just the dress blue uniforms during a 10-day leave from boot camp as a way to show classmates their pride in becoming successful graduates as Marines. Hamil also said a Marine recruiter told the teens they could wear the uniforms instead of caps and gowns.

At one point in the controversy, Hamil voiced frustration over conflicting information she received over how the Marine dress uniform is supposed to be worn. She said it became unclear whether Kostner and Shymanik could wear a cap and gown over their uniforms.

Before the school board vote, Marine Corps Maj. William Reinhart said there were no rules against caps and gowns going over the dress blues, if that's what the school preferred.

"I think it's very important that (Kostner and Shymanik) be recognized in some way," Reinhart added.

Hamil told the school board she wasn't interested in a compromise that was offered.

Before Tuesday's vote, District 121 suggested Kostner and Shymanik be part of a color guard participating at the Northwestern University graduation. The graduates would have donned caps and gowns over their Marine uniforms after presenting the colors.

"All they simply wanted to do is walk across the stage in their uniforms," Hamil said.