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ASHEBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – The community is in an uproar after a graduating senior at Asheboro High School was denied his diploma.

According to witness video, Ever Lopez was wearing a Mexican flag over his gown when he walked across the stage, and he received his diploma holder but when he went to retrieve his actual diploma, he was refused and allegedly told he had to apologize.

Many viewers have reached out to tell FOX8 about this situation, saying that other students also had similarly decorated their regalia and were not punished.

Lopez told FOX8 he was in possession of his flag throughout the graduation. He did not put it on until he began to walk the stage, and was only confronted when he reached his principal.

“She was like, ‘You cannot be wearing that,’ and I was like — I was in shock,” Lopez said. “I was like, ‘What?’ And she was like, ‘You can’t be wearing that flag, it’s a distraction.’ I was like, ‘There’s no way you’re telling me this now.’”

Asheboro City Schools states that wearing a flag of any kind was against the stated dress code for the graduation ceremony.

You can read the full statement released by Asheboro City Schools below:

First and foremost, we strongly support our students’ expressions of their heritage in the appropriate time and place. Our graduation dress code is clearly shared with students ahead of time, and the wearing of a flag of any kind is a violation of the dress code. In the past two years we have allowed students to decorate their mortar boards as a nod to their individuality and creativity. We are very clear with students that this was the ONLY acceptable deviation from the standard cap and gown regalia. Unfortunately, we will now be reevaluating that decision for future senior classes in light of the situation that occurred last night. 

We continue working to resolve this issue with the student and his family so that he will receive his diploma from Asheboro High School. He has worked very hard and we commend him on this great achievement. We are confident in his abilities and we know he has a bright future ahead of him. 

The accusations being made about our school and district are disheartening. We work with each student daily to ensure they receive rigorous instruction, equitable opportunity, and compassionate care in a safe and inviting learning environment. Across our school and district, we are passionate about seeing all students succeed. 

Leigh Anna Marbert, the public information officer for Asheboro City Schools, released a second statement on Friday afternoon, saying the “incident at AHS last night has been misrepresented across a number of social media platforms.”

That new statement can read below:

Unfortunately, the incident at AHS last night has been misrepresented across a number of social media platforms. The heart of the issue is the fact that the student did not follow the established dress code for the event and detracted from the importance and the solemnity of the ceremony. Our dress code is in place to ensure the dignity of the event is upheld and is fair to all students. Graduation is a milestone event and it is grossly unfair for one individual to diminish this event by violating the dress code.

Furthermore, the following information are the facts of what happened last night.

· The student attended and fully participated in the graduation ceremonies at AHS.

· This incident is not about the Mexican flag. Students were encouraged to express their identity by decorating their mortar boards. A number of students followed the protocol and had the Mexican flag and other representations appropriately displayed during the ceremony.

AHS has a long standing tradition of high standards for our students. Graduation is no different. These policies are in place so that all students and families have the opportunity to enjoy graduation. We are disheartened by the many comments by those not present at the event, along with those by individuals who do not have all of the facts.

AHS has long celebrated and embraced a diverse student body and will continue to work on behalf of all students.