Hudson Schools says no to Marine uniform for grad ceremony
HUDSON, Wis. -- When Hudson High School senior Mac Hamlin inquired about wearing his U.S. Marine Corps dress uniform at his graduation ceremony in June, he was initially told no by Principal Laura Love.
Hamlin, who has graduated early and just this week left for basic training, told Love that his training would be completed and that he would be home for the ceremony June 15.
Love cited the school's policy posted on their website about the commencement ceremony. "Seniors planning to participate in the Commencement Ceremony must purchase a cap and gown through Jostens. All students must wear the traditional cap and gown; girls will wear white caps and gowns, and boys will wear blue caps and gowns..."
On Sunday, Superintendent Mary Bowen-Eggebraaten's office issued a statement that indicated the district would reconsider Hamlin's request once they received it in writing.
"If a written request to the principal for such a change or exception to the graduation dress code to wear a military uniform is received from a member of the graduating class, consideration will be made by the Board of Education since this decision could affect all future graduation ceremonies," the statement said.
Hamlin left Hudson on Monday to report to boot camp and was unavailable for comment.
Hamlin has said he will not take part in the ceremony if he cannot wear his uniform.
In a statement from the public affairs office of the Ninth Marine Corps District, Capt. Ken Kunze said that school policies should be followed.
Hamlin's recruiter, Marine Sgt. Brandon Blazer, however, expressed disappointment on Facebook at the initial response to Hamlin's request.
"While it's unfortunate that Mac cannot walk in his blue dress uniform, the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor is worn on the heart of every Marine who has earned the title. Mac is a gentleman. Smart, tough, and mature beyond his years with an absolutely professional approach towards his goals. He is exactly what the Marine Corps is looking for in young men and women. As a recruiter, these young people were never hard to find in the Hudson community. I came to find a lot in common with the people of the Hudson community: hard workers who love their families above all else. A community that never waivers in their support of our young men and women in uniform. And a community for which these kids long to return to when their days wearing the uniform are done. A community they love to call home."