Ruling on Rope and Tassel at Graduation Explained

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Published on May 1 2012 3:15 pm
Last Updated on July 14 2013 4:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

A local family is disappointed that their son won't be wearing a US Army rope and tassel at graduation at Effingham High School.  A school official said the decision is to prevent additional displays at future graduation ceremonies that might not be so honorable.

Josh Daugherty has been participating in the Army's accelerated enlistment program since last June.  Josh's recruiter gave him a cord and tassel to wear at graduation, and directed Josh to talk with the high school administration about wearing the items.

When Josh asked about wearing the cord and tassel, EHS Assistant Principal Cody Lewis ruled against the request, saying that everyone needed to look the same.

Lewis today said that the school has 844 students that have a variety of pursuits, like Boy Scouts, church activities and others, but those aren't recognized at graduation, only school-related accomplishments.  He said the one exception is when a member of the graduating class died, and each graduate wore a patch in memory of the student.

Lewis said he understood the family's disappointment in the decision, and said that's not the intent.  He said the district's interpretation of school law is that if any outside activities are recognized, they must recognize all of them, and some could be undesirable.

Josh's mom, Norma, today said they are proud of Josh's work in the accelerated enlistment program and had hoped to have it recognized in the wearing of the rope and tassel.