Native American Student Denied Diploma, Fined $1,000 For Wearing Eagle Feather

A Native American student was denied her diploma and fined $1,000 for wearing an eagle feather in her graduation cap.

The Native American student is named Chelsey Ramer, a senior at the Escambia Academy High School.

Ramer is a member of the Poarch Creek Native American tribe in Alabama. She’s one of the descendants of the original Creek Nation.

Ramer wore the eagle feather in her graduation at a May 23rd commencement ceremony as a symbol of her Native American heritage, but school policy forbids “extraneous items” from being worn without permission. The Native American student refused to a sign a graduation contract and was denied permission ahead of time by the headmaster to wear the eagle feather:

“About two months ago, me and the other Indian seniors from the graduating class asked our headmaster if we could wear the feathers on our caps. She told us ‘no’ and that if we did, she would pull us off the field.”

But Ramer went ahead with her plans, anyway. Now she’s facing a $1,000 fine in order to receive her high school diploma.

The Native American student claims the school is discriminating against her due to her heritage:

“I feel like this wasn’t fair. It really did hurt my feelings. I have watched others wear it and I looked forward to it my whole four years there. Now when it was my turn, [they said] I couldn’t. I feel like it’s discrimination.”

Do you think the Native American student is being discriminated against, or was Ramer demanding special rights against the school’s graduation rules?

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