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HASTINGS — Hastings High School is facing a social media backlash after a senior was not allowed to wear a U.S. Army sash during her graduation ceremony.
A Facebook post about the incident, which has gone viral, criticizes the high school for not allowing graduating senior Megan Pohlmeier to wear the sash.
Pohlmeier said she received the sash, which is black and yellow with the U.S. Army logo, from her Army recruiter in Grand Island. She said she called the school to ask if she could wear it.
The article goes on to state the following:
According to Pohlmeier, her father called the high school principal, Thomas Szlanda, to see if there was a way for her and the school to compromise. Although she had been told no by Szlanda, she said she planned to wear the sash before the ceremony, have pictures taken with it, tuck it under her gown during the ceremony, and wear it again afterwards.
While standing in line prior to the ceremony, Pohlmeier said the principal saw her wearing the U.S. Army sash.
“He pulled me out of line and said, ‘I talked to you and your father and you are not to be wearing that. If I see you wearing that again, you will not receive your diploma,’ ” she said.
According to the report, Hastings Public Schools Superintendent Craig Kautz excused the incident, saying that although Pohlmeier should have been allowed to just tuck the sash, at the time they were trying to get nearly 250 graduates lined up and conduct a ceremony on time.
Hastings Public Schools officials reportedly said in a Facebook post: “We are sorry (this) has generated the perception that we are not patriotic. This could not be further from the truth. Our mission, in part, is to develop responsible citizens. We cannot think of a more responsible citizen than the ones who select to or are chosen to serve the United States of America.”
No student “was allowed to display any symbol of any organization other than those symbols earned while attending Hastings Senior High,” the district wrote on Facebook.
People critical of the school’s decision have posted comments ranging from “what a horrible way to treat a strong hero” to “very disrespectful, unprofessional, and unacceptable. Shame on you Hastings Senior High School! #militaryfamily #armystrong.”
Pohlmeier just wants is an apology.
“It just should have been handled better,” she said.
— ArmyTimes (@ArmyTimes) May 18, 2018
Come to Hastings High school tomorrow to state how you feel about Szlanda! pic.twitter.com/dRcF74YpT3
— 😈Megan 😈 (@meganpohlmeier) May 15, 2018
— Hub 4 Hugs (@hub4hugs) May 23, 2018