School district responds after student not allowed to walk for graduation ceremony

Local News
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An Orchard Park High School student not being able to walk at his school’s graduation ceremony has caused a stir on social media. 

A number of local Facebook users voiced their support for Dillon Donovan. 

Donovan was not allowed to walk in Orchard Park High School’s graduation ceremony because he wanted to wear a United States Marine Corps sash.

Donovan is a USMC recruit. 

He is not responding to the story at this time. 

Since the incident, Orchard Park schools superintendent, Matthew McGarrity, released the following statement on the district’s website.   

Dear Orchard Park Families- I would like to provide some information to clarify a concern from our graduation ceremony Saturday. Immediately prior to yesterday’s Orchard Park graduation ceremony, a request came forward from a student to wear a military sash at the ceremony. First and foremost I want to say that the Orchard Park School District supports all of our students, including our students entering the armed forces. Accordingly, this request will prompt a discussion of our current practices and protocols at graduation. The Administration welcomes the discussion. Historically, the District has focused on the graduating class as a cohesive group, with sashes, cords and individually decorated caps not being part of the ceremony. That being said, the annual senior banquet, which takes place a week prior to graduation, recognizes a wide range of individual student accomplishments, including individually recognizing our students entering the armed forces by name. During Saturday’s graduation ceremony, the High School principal also recognized our students that are entering the armed forces as a group. The week prior to graduation, the principal meets with the entire senior class for rehearsal, and also reviews the expectations for the ceremony, including what is allowed for attire. With this request coming on the day of graduation immediately before the ceremony, it did not allow the district the chance to consider changing its historical practice and provide the same opportunity to all other graduates either entering the military, college or the world of work. It is important for me to reiterate that this concern will prompt further discussion into our graduation ceremonies moving forward.

Sincerely, Matthew McGarrity Superintendent of School

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