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Principal Apologizes After Blasting Marines for Wearing Their Uniforms at Graduation Ceremony

Marshall High School Principal Scott Hutchins apologized for telling two Marines that they didn’t act “honorably” by wearing their uniform instead of the mandatory cap and gown to the graduation ceremony.

According to the Battle Creek Enquirer, the Michigan principal pulled Pfc. Willie Couch and Pfc. Samuel Hackworth aside at the ceremony.

After thanking them for their service, he told them, “’I do not feel you acted honorably today by not following our rules.”

The school’s policy requires graduates to wear a cap and gown, and it told the Marines “well before” the ceremony that it wouldn’t make an exception for their uniforms. However, the school offered to give them red, white, and blue cords to wear over their gowns.

The district also proposed to make a special notation next to their names indicating that they’re Marines and to have their rank mentioned when they received their diplomas.

According to the Battle Creek Enquirer, Couch and Hackworth declined the offers and opted to wear their uniforms instead.

In a Facebook post, Superintendent Dr. Randy Davis explained that he told the principal and school board that he was going to allow the two Marines to walk in the procession to not “disappoint their families.”

Hutchins’ comment — as well as another comment from a school board member saying he was “disappointed” in the two Marines — was criticized on social media.

 

Media statement provided by Superintendent Randy Davis:Quite a while back the high school issued the rule that all…

Posted by Marshall Public Schools Board of Education on Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Media statement provided by Superintendent Randy Davis:Quite a while back the high school issued the rule that all…

Posted by Marshall Public Schools Board of Education on Tuesday, June 5, 2018

However, not everyone believed the Marines were in the right. Various users addressed the conflict and wrote that while they support military members being able to wear their uniform, rules are rules.

Media statement provided by Superintendent Randy Davis:Quite a while back the high school issued the rule that all…

Posted by Marshall Public Schools Board of Education on Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Media statement provided by Superintendent Randy Davis:Quite a while back the high school issued the rule that all…

Posted by Marshall Public Schools Board of Education on Tuesday, June 5, 2018

During a Board of Education work session, Hutchins addressed the incident and said that as the “proud son” of a Vietnam War veteran, he has immense respect for the military and their families.

“I deeply regret that my actions have been misrepresented on social media,” the Battle Creek Enquirer reported he said.

“My attempt at making this a teachable moment with two students that graduated from Marine Boot Camp clearly was not successful,” Hutchins continued.

He added that it wasn’t his intent to offend or upset anyone or to ruin the memory of an “amazing commencement ceremony,” and he apologized for any “distress” he caused the two Marines.

“I have never referred to any member of our Armed Forces as dishonorable or said that they brought dishonor to their branch of the military because I understand the implications of that word to our brave men and women that serve,” he said.

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