Student denied from wearing eagle feather to El Capitan High School graduation

Posted at 6:25 PM, Jun 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-15 21:25:08-04

LAKESIDE, Calif. (KGTV) - A high school student at El Capitan High School says he was denied permission to wear a Native American eagle feather during his graduation ceremony.

Jacob Brown had been issued the feather as a symbol of his accomplishment.

"They're blessed with a medicine man there so when we receive them, that's a big accomplishment," Brown told 10News. "You're graduating high school. You're going into the next step of life."

The Grossmont Union High School District says the policy at El Capitan has stayed consistent for more than 50 years, banning any adornment to caps and gowns during the graduation ceremony. The principal suggested that Brown attach the feather after the ceremony.

However, Brown's mother says that defeated the purpose of visually showing his cultural pride during the ceremony.

"It's like just for this hour, we violate you," Brown said. "That's not okay. They should be who they are and be proud of who they are and show who they are at all times."

San Diego State Assemblymember Todd Gloria has introduced a bill which would stop schools from preventing students from wearing cultural adornments. A similar bill passed in the previous legislative term but was vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown.

Gloria's new bill has passed the Assembly and is awaiting a final vote in the Senate.