(H/T – a semi-retired Cheddarsphere denzien)
I guess we can add Bloomer High School principal Brent Ashland, Bloomer School District Superintendent Doug Martin, and the majority of the Bloomer School Board, headed by president Joe Zeman to those whose patriotism we no longer need to question because they have none. Why? Allow me to recap the Chippewa Herald story I linked to:
- Bloomer High School senior Daniel Lingen finished his studies early so he could complete Marine Corps boot camp before the graduation ceremony on May 31.
- He requested permission from principal Brent Ashland to wear his soon-to-be-earned Marine dress blue uniform instead of the traditional cap-and-gown at said ceremony. Ashland, with no written policy to guide him, refused to allow this.
- His father, Charles Lingen, took his son’s case to the school board, after getting conflicting excuses for the refusal.
- On Monday, after what school board president Joe Zeman called weeks of discussion both among school board members and between school board members and the public, and after a snap decision to put this on the agenda the prior Friday and thus barely meet the requirements under the Open Meetings statutes, the school board adopted a cap-and-gown only policy written by superintendent Doug Martin. Of note, an attempt to carve out an exception for military dress uniforms died for a lack of a second to the motion offered by Ralph Bruxvoort.
The Chippewa Herald was thoughful enough to include a statement from the Bloomer School District. As you read it, note that there was no official uniform for graduation until after Daniel Lingen made his request and after the Bloomer School District spoke to their military representative:
The School District of Bloomer released the following statement Tuesday morning on the board’s decision:
It is the position of the School District of Bloomer that high school graduation, although it may hold different personal meaning for each individual, is a ceremony to recognize and honor students for their academic achievement in earning a Bloomer High School diploma.
Based on this, the Board of Education has determined that the appropriate attire for the Bloomer High School graduation ceremony will be the traditional cap and gown as selected by the Class of 2008.
In weighing this decision, the School Board and administration received input from individuals and groups on both sides of the issue, within and outside the community, including a representative of the U.S. Military. The military representative we talked with informed us that he understood our position because the military is all about uniformity; and if the uniform of a high school graduate is the cap and gown, all graduates should wear the cap and gown.
Unfortunately, there are some that will claim that by requiring graduates to wear the cap and gown, rather than their respective military uniform, that the district is somehow unpatriotic or unsupportive of those that serve our country. Drawing this conclusion is not an accurate assessment of the genuine appreciation felt by the individuals that comprise the School Board and administrative team.
The School Board and administration of the School District of Bloomer hold in highest regard the men and women who join and serve in our country’s military. We both respect and admire the sacrifices these individuals make to defend our national and individual freedom.
We are extremely grateful to our graduating students who choose to take this honorable path and, in recognition of that, there is time set aside during the Bloomer High School graduation program to acknowledge their commitment.
By adopting this official position only after it became an issue, and by at the least misleading that military representative what the official position of the school district was, I would say that deeming the school district is unpatriotic and unsupportive of the military is an accurate assessment.