BRENTWOOD (KPIX 5) — A senior at Liberty High in Brentwood wanted to show off his military pride at his graduation ceremony by wearing his army uniform, but school insisted he cover it up.

That’s a violation of military uniform code.

Harland Fletcher says the proudest achievement of his life was to wear his army dress blues.

“I talked to my counselor the day before practice,” he said.

But, when he showed up to bask in the pomp and circumstance — he was denied.

“’No, you can’t walk in that’ and I asked ‘why’ and he said ‘that’s not the graduation uniform’,” says Fletcher, remembering the conversation.

So he asked again.

“They said they had an extra cap and gown and I said, ‘I’m sorry, i can’t do that. That’s defacing the uniform. That’s against the uniform policy.’” says Fletcher.

He told them he was not going to participate and walked away.

According to the uniform code of Military Justice, covering a uniform could have made the 18-year-old subject to a court martial.

So, instead of crossing the stage clutching his diploma before heading to Advanced Individual Training at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Fletcher walked out.

The Liberty Union High School District issued a statement to KPIX 5 Saturday, saying they were wrong and offering this apology:

“No slight was meant to Harland nor to the US Army. In fact with a little prior notification I’m sure Principal Walsh and the site administration would’ve come to this conclusion before the ceremony.”

“I honestly feel like you can apologize all you really want, but in the moment you should’ve already known,” says Fletcher.

For him, the apology is not enough.

Comments (8)
  1. Liberty Union High School District what a disgrace!!!! It is your obligation to understand the rules of appropriate clothing for your graduation ceremonies. California law specifically states that US military uniforms can be worn.

  2. Guy Kelley says:

    Why should a High School Distric know what the Military’s Code is ? Once the error by the district was realized, they bent over backwards to both apologize and held a special ceremony just for this one student, that wanted to wear his military uniform to his graduation, being denied because of School Policy at the time.

    True he was told the day ahead of graduation by his counselor that it was okay to wear it, then told at the graduation he could not, being offered a cap and gown to cover the uniform.. He chose not to and walked off, not participating in the graduation ceremony.

    The kid went to his special ceremony the day after, that was set up just for him by the school, accepted his diploma and the H.S. apology and now is still unhappy over it.

    Good lord ! Get over it allready, quite acting like a spoiled rotten child, and realize it’s not all about you ! Or do you think that the military that you joined for 4 years, is going to be the same, while holding your hand and saying to you’ My Aren’t You Special” !