One of the fun things about having a blog is I get to share my musings with all of you and open dialogue to learn more about people. This is a bit out of the usual for me, but something in this situation struck a chord of thoughtfulness and inspection.
Honor diversity. Equal rights. Special rights. No rights.
I saw this link Student Denied Diploma on Facebook. A comment I read related to the video said they hope NBC does a follow-up to see if anyone was wearing any religious symbols. That got me thinking.
How have we arrived to this place? We did it ourselves. We opened up all the doors and said all is acceptable and all is well. We want each individual to be themselves and everyone to be respectful of all the differences. Which is the way I believe it should be by the way. Yet, a young girl can’t wear something because a PERSON in a place of POWER said so. Friends, I don’t think that is ever going to change. There are always going to be people who are in places of power that will have the ability to define what is acceptable or not in that particular setting and they can re-define those rules at will.
I would like to have seen a video of the entire class of students walking in to the graduation at Escambia Academy High School. I would have been interested to see if there were any students or staff wearing jewelry. Maybe some bore a religious symbol at their neck such as a cross or a pentagram or a star of David. Or maybe they had their religious symbols of protection or honor or remembrance under their caps and gown, such as garments or a kippa.
Were there any pony tail holders or bow ties. How about makeup? Who is deciding what “extraneous items” are? What about tattoos with various meanings for the wearer as well as the beholder? Essentially, one person, or an entity that one person spoke for, decided a feather was the one thing not allowed.
We can’t change others. We have to find what is acceptable and tolerable within ourselves and know it so we can act appropriately in situations like this young woman faced. This wise girl made a decision, a choice. She knew that there was potential for some type of fall-out if she wore the feather. She had asked permission and been denied. She had seen the dress code contract and did not sign it. She made the choice of what was acceptable to her. It was NOT acceptable to go without her feather. Wearing the symbolic feather was more important than the potential consequences that could come from doing something she had been told was not acceptable in that environment.
Chelsey Ramer actually showed more maturity and thoughtful decision-making than the Headmaster. To me it sounded like the Headmaster was coming at it from a stand of power, not of personal honor. I’m sorry the student is having to deal with some fall-out, yet it sounds like she is taking appropriate recourse and maybe it will be handled differently in the future. It all depends on who is in the position of power.
The one thing I can do consistently when up against that type of power is make my decision based on what I can live with. Having a strong understanding of what is acceptable to me will make my decisions easier as life unfolds. Stand true to yourself always, even amidst the fallout of life!