McHenry HS refuses to let Marine in dress blues walk in graduation

ByLiz Nagy via WLS logo
Friday, May 20, 2016
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A north suburban high school's graduation decision is causing some controversy.

MCHENRY, Ill. (WLS) -- A north suburban high school's graduation decision is causing some controversy.

Officials at McHenry West High School would not let a graduate, who is also a U.S. Marine, walk across the stage in her dress blues.

Some of her classmates are outraged.

Megan Howerton technically finished high school months ago, wrapping up four years at McHenry early to start her career as a Marine.

"Megan has always been very determined to do what's right, and I think she felt that the military was a calling for her," said Grace Rodriguez- McHenry West graduate.

But when she returned in full uniform Thursday night to join her classmates at commencement, Megan wasn't allowed to walk with the class.

She wore her dress blues instead of the traditional gown. The school said, in part, "the tradition of cap and gown regalia is aimed at the idea that our graduates are celebrated as a whole and in traditional attire."

"Rules are rules, but just because she's in the military doesn't mean you can break them. The Marines stand for rules and order, so she should follow those rules and order since she's fighting for them," said Cole Petty, junior, McHenry West High School.

"They start the morning off by pledging allegiance, and when a student actually does pledge allegiance to her country wearing her dress blues she was just shot down," said Nellie Weiss, former McHenry student.

Some students were so bothered they broke out of class to support Megan on the sidewalk. Megan's chance to walk is now past, but those students don't want the school's decision to go unanswered.