High School Student Denied Diploma While Wearing Mexican Flag at Graduation

23ABC News | Bakersfield

Many high schools have fairly strict dress codes for graduation ceremonies. It’s important for students to take these dress codes seriously, or it turns out, the school officials may prevent the students from attending graduation or even receiving their diploma.

In some cases, the dress codes might be too strict, and school districts are taking that into consideration going forward. In other cases, students seem to ignore the rules and expect to get away with it.

High school senior Ever Lopez paid attention to the Asheboro High School graduation ceremony dress code with one major exception. He wore a Mexican flag over his graduation gown while he walked on stage to receive his diploma. The dress code stated that students were only allowed to decorate their cap and not their gown, so when the principal saw Lopez with a flag over his gown, she refused to give him his diploma unless he took off the flag.

Lopez’s cousin recorded the incident and posted about it on TikTok calling it racist, but the school disagrees. According to a statement released by Asheboro City Schools, “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.”

In another statement, the school expressed their feeling that the incident has been taken out of context. “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.” The school added, “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.”

For more about this high school graduation controversy, watch the video below.


On June 7, 2021, Ashboro City Schools posted another statement saying that Lopez was finally able to pick up his diploma from the school earlier that day.

Do you think the school’s principal was out of line for refusing to give Lopez his diploma because he violated the dress code at the graduation ceremony? Do you think students should be allowed to decorate their caps and gowns? Do you think graduation dress codes are too strict?