School Gets Threats After Student Denied Diploma For Mexican Flag

School Gets Threats After Student Denied Diploma For Mexican Flag ASHEBORO, NC — Ever Lopez, a class of 2021 graduate at Asheboro High School in central North Carolina, said he draped the Mexican flag over his back to honor his family as he walked across the stage at graduation last week. It was a nod to the difficulties and lack of opportunities his ancestors faced while growing up in Mexico, he said.

“I was doing it for my family,” Lopez said while on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “I did it for them because they had a rough childhood, they didn’t get the scholarship that I got, or they didn’t get to go to school like I did.”

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Asheboro High School Principal Penny Crooks wouldn’t hand Lopez his diploma when his name was announced, a video Lopez’s cousin shared on Twitter shows. It appeared to show Lopez denied a diploma over the Mexican flag display, and Crooks holding up the diploma line to address the issue with Lopez.

In the few days since, the video has sparked protests, a petition to have Lopez awarded a diploma after all, and threats against the school, according to media reports.

But it all seems to be the result of a misunderstanding, a statement from Asheboro City Schools says. Having the flag over his back like that is considered a dress code violation, the school said in a statement.

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“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 school wrote. “Graduation is a milestone event, and it is grossly unfair for one individual to diminish this event by violating the dress code.”

The school added that students were allowed to express their identity by decorating their mortar boards, and a number of students had the Mexican flag displayed on their mortar boards.

“This incident is not about the Mexican flag,” the school said.

Security has increased at the school since the graduation ceremony due to 10 emails school officials received threatening violence over the incident, according to a WTVD report, including one from someone saying they would shoot up the school if Lopez does not get a diploma.

The school said their intent was never to deny Lopez the diploma, although the video shows the temporary holdup at the ceremony.

“He will receive his diploma from Asheboro High School,” the school statement said. “He has worked very hard, and we commend him on this great achievement. We are confident in his abilities, and know he has a bright future ahead of him.”