ASHEBORO, N.C. – A pupil obtained his highschool diploma Monday, 4 days after his principal set off a social media firestorm by refusing to current it at commencement because the teen draped a Mexican flag over his gown.
More than 100,000 folks had signed a web-based petition Monday demanding that Ever Lopez be awarded his diploma. The controversy grew to become so heated that police performed further patrols in and round Asheboro High School, saying a minimum of 10 threatening emails have been despatched to highschool staff.
“I’m grateful that I got what I deserved,” Ever stated Monday.
His mom, Margarita, held the diploma up in entrance of a crowd of journalists and supporters. “I have Ever’s diploma,” she stated with a translator. “And it’s not just Ever’s diploma. It’s all of our diplomas and our community’s diploma.”
The incident ignited rallies within the metropolis 25,000 folks 85 miles northeast of Charlotte. Siembra NC, a statewide Latinx advocacy group, held a rally for Lopez and his household and pledged full support.
“We actually have members here that have stood up, have fought back in our neighborhoods here in Asheboro against ICE, against wage theft and against discrimination in schools, which is what we’re seeing happening right now,” stated Kelly Morales, an organizer for Siembra.
Lopez stated he carried the flag into commencement Thursday night time at Asheboro High School, draping it over his shoulders after he was seated. No one talked about the flag till he reached the stage, he stated.
“I did it for my family,” he stated. “They came over here to give me a better future.”
Asheboro City Schools officers stated final week that Lopez’s violation of the costume code was “grossly unfair” and “diminished the occasion.”
“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,” the district said in the statement. “Our dress code is in place to ensure the dignity of the event is upheld and is fair to all students.”
Lopez stated after the ceremony he and his dad and mom met with Principal Penny Crooks, who needed him to apologize.
“I ain’t apologizing for nothing,” Lopez stated. “It’s you who should be apologizing. You’re the one doing wrong.”
The Change.org petition was entitled “Give this man his diploma.”
“Ever Lopez was wearing a Mexican flag during his graduation and didn’t receive his diploma,” the petition states. “This is unacceptable, this man worked his butt off for HIS diploma.”
Video of the incident fueled social media outrage, and feedback have flooded Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and Tiktok. Lopez’s cousin, Adolfo Hurtado, posted video of the incident on Twitter. It drew 3,000 retweets and greater than 1,000 feedback.
“My mans left with dignity and honor!” responded @CarlosRIOS77. “He refused to take off the flag and threw his fist up high! May this brother get countless open doors and opportunities!”
But not all agreed with Lopez.
“What’s the point of dress code if you can wear what you want?” tweeted @coreymoto. “There is no grey area with that, get your diploma and go celebrate in whatever style you want.”
And this from @irregular_view: “If it was a Confederate flag they would have given him 2 diplomas.”
Bacon reported from Arlington, Va. Shen writes for The Courier Tribune in Asheboro, N.C. Contributing: Rachel Berry, The Courier Tribune
This article initially appeared on USA TODAY: Diploma finally awarded to student who draped Mexican flag over gown