The police made themselves available to deal with violators at a recent California high school graduation ceremony. They found one—a graduate who refused to comply with a ban of accessories on caps and gowns.
Fox News reports that three sheriff’s deputies escorted Nyree Holmes from the ceremony in Sacramento, Calif. because he defied the ban by wearing a kente cloth across his shoulders.
Holmes, 18, told the Associated Press that the traditional African print is culturally meaningful to him:
“I wanted to show I’m proud of who I am and that, as the descendant of slaves, I represent Africa and my ancestry.”
The Cosumnes Oaks High School student said he spoke with his school’s student activities director prior to the ceremony about his desire to wear the kente cloth. The director, according to Holmes, dismissed his views.
Holmes defied the rule and walked onto the platform – wearing his kente cloth – to get his diploma and shake hands with the principal and other school administrators.
The deputies were waiting for Holmes when he walked down the stairs, the network reported.
Xanthi Pinkerton, a spokeswoman for the Elk Grove Unified School District, told the Sacramento Bee that the incident was unfortunate. She added:
“We would have preferred that the student would have complied. We wouldn’t have even gone here with that. It would have been nice not to have the image of a police escort.”
According to Fox, Principal Maria Osborne met with Holmes’ parents and apologized.
Holmes told the Bee that he’s “a very good kid,” and a merit scholar with plans to study film at California State University, Fullerton.