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Orchard Park looks for guidance from military members on graduation protocol

Orchard Park Central school administrators have already reached out to members of the armed services for input on how the district might recognize students going into the military.

In a letter to parents and families on the district website, Superintendent Matthew McGarrity said parents, faculty and students also will be asked for input.

The district has come under fire after graduating senior Dillon Donovan refused to remove his yellow military sash, and left before the graduation ceremony started Saturday. The district does not allow sashes, cords or decorated caps at the ceremony.

McGarrity said the district already is reviewing its graduation protocols.

"We will also be reaching out to our local members of the military and veterans for their input on the various methods of recognition for our students entering the military. Finally, we will be contacting local universities, high schools, parents, faculty and students seeking their input," he wrote.

Military sash story resonates far beyond Orchard Park graduation

He said those contacted will be asked to be part of a larger committee to review all of the academic and military protocols concerning graduation.

The superintendent noted that the district took steps two years ago to address the issue when it was brought up. The students entering the military are recognized by name at the senior awards/honors banquet and they are recognized as a group at graduation.

"Our students entering the military are the only students recognized as a group at graduation and the district is proud to recognize these students’ commitment to service," he wrote.

He said the current practice has been taking place for more than 30 years, but "in education we embrace open dialogue and conversation. We look forward to ensuring we properly recognize the well-deserved accolades of all our students."

 

 

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