REDLANDS (CBSLA.com) — Graduation is supposed to be a time to celebrate what students have accomplished. But one family says the policy at Redlands High School is preventing their son from doing just that.
Elias Valezquez won’t be able to wear the sash he earned for enlisting in the U.S. Army because students aren’t allowed to wear any cords or sashes over their caps and gowns. The school’s rules say it doesn’t matter if it’s from a school, club, college or branch of the military.
Valezquez’s father said he went to the school to ask why and they told him the policy has been in place for years. It’s a way to make sure no students to feel left out.
“I don’t agree with the everyone gets a trophy mentality, I think that some kids work harder than others,” Joe Valezquez said.
Elias says he has worked hard to get in shape and become eligible for the armed forces.
“I think this is bigger than me; it’s a whole new lifestyle that I’m gonna be transitioning to, and it’s a really cool and amazing thing,” he said. “People should be encouraged to see people wearing these instead of being disappointed.”
Elias’ stepmother agrees.
“I went to Airborne school and I have Airborne wings on my uniform and I earned those,” she said. “Not everyone has those. Even within the military, you have different awards and recognition for things you’ve done and accomplished.”
Valezquez says even though he disagrees with the rules, he’ll follow them. He knows obeying orders is something he’ll have to do when he joins the Army.
His family says in all the pictures they take before and after the actual graduation ceremony that rule won’t apply. He’ll have that Army sash on.