Petition supports military sashes for grads

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BRATTLEBORO — A new petition seeks to secure Brattleboro Union High School's continued support for students who want to wear military sashes in future graduation ceremonies.

Ethan Sage, a senior at the school, told the Reformer he enlisted in the military in February and when he first asked if he could wear a military sash to the graduation, he was told no. He said many people called the principal about the issue and military sashes can now be worn.

His petition, found at change.org/p/brattleboro-union-high-school-let-buhs-graduates-wear-military-sashes, had 1,460 signatures as of Thursday morning.

"As a proud veteran, I feel that the school should honor this young man's decision to wear his military sash," one supporter wrote. "BUHS should cherish this individual's sacrifice and hold admiration for his decisions."

Principal Steve Perrin issued a statement ahead of the graduation scheduled for June 21.

"Students who have enlisted in the military and taken their oath are welcome to wear a sash or cord provided by the branch of the military they are entering," the statement says. "As in years past, students will also be permitted to wear the sash from the following BUHS groups: National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society, VPA [Visual and Performing Arts] Graduates, STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Math] Graduates and [International Studies Academy] Graduates. As in past years, students are allowed to decorate their mortar boards as long as the decoration is appropriate for school and does not impede the view of others. This policy is in effect for the 2019 graduation and will be reviewed during the upcoming 2019-2020 school year."

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Sage was encouraged when he learned about the statement.

"That's awesome," he said.

After an unrelated meeting at the school Wednesday, Perrin told the Reformer a new board might change the policy. The BUHS district is expected to dissolve via a merger with school districts in Brattleboro, Dummerston, Guilford and Putney.

Perrin said students may start requesting to wear sashes from the colleges where they have been accepted.

"The question is where do you draw the line?" he said.

Perrin mentioned a similar situation occurred in Keene, N.H. The Keene Board of Education was planning to draft a policy on graduation attire and more than 3,500 people signed a petition on change.org supporting military sashes, according to the Keene Sentinel.

Reach staff writer Chris Mays at cmays@reformer.com, at @CMaysBR on Twitter and 802-254-2311, ext. 273.


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