Friday , May 24 2024

Agreement Reached in Feather Controversy

UPDATE: Clovis Unified announced late Tuesday that an agreement has been reached between the district and a Native American student who wants to wear an eagle feather at graduation.
No specifics were available.

From earlier:
Lawyers for Clovis Unified, the ACLU and the parents of a Clovis High senior continued talks this evening.

The student wants to wear an eagle feather at graduation on Thursday. But its against the district’s dress code.

The student and the ACLU took the district to court.

Christian Titman walked in to court wearing a choker made of bone, and a hawk feather in his hair.
The senior at Clovis High wants to wear an eagle feather in his tassel at graduation on Thursday.

His family and the ACLU filed suit against the Clovis Unified School District.

"The goal is that Christian would be able to display this cultural, personal and religious message during his graduation ceremony," said Novella Coleman with the ACLU.

They want Clovis Unified to change the district dress code, which only allows academic sashes or cords to be worn with the cap and gown.

Christian declined to be interviewed today, on advice of his attorneys. But he told us Monday he wants to recognize his Indian heritage during the ceremony.

"For Clovis High to tell me i can’t wear my feather, they’re telling me not to be proud, they’re telling me, you did not accomplish what you did," Christian said.

The judge told the two sides to try and work out a compromise.

After the hearing, the district, ACLU, and Christian’s family talked outside the courthouse. They even tried out an option: having Christian wear the feather in his hair, just below his cap instead of on his tassel.
The ACLU said that test – was inconclusive.

While Christian’s family filed the lawsuit, the issue isn’t just about his graduation.

"But going forward it is in Christians interest and his family’s interest and the ACLU’s interest to see that students that want to express their speech will be allowed to do so, unless it’s going to be disruptive. And that hasn’t been proven here," Coleman said.

Christian graduates on Thursday.

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