Target: Deborah L. LeBeau, Superintendent of the Clover Park School District
Goal: Allow Native American student to wear an eagle feather on her graduation robe.
Waverly Wilson, a Native American student, is not allowed to decorate her graduation robe with a sacred eagle feather during her own graduation ceremony, according to the principal at Lakes High School in Lakewood, Washington. Native Americans should not be forced to hide who they are. Demand that the school allow Wilson to wear her eagle feather during her graduation.
After Wilson bought her cap and gown for her upcoming high school graduation, she asked school administration if she could wear an eagle feather, a culturally-significant item to her and her tribe, during the graduation ceremony. The administration informed her that she could not do that because such a thing would be “against district policy.” According to the school, Wilson would have to hide the feather under her gown for the ceremony, after which it could “of course be put on the outside of the gown.”
Wilson is reporting that she feels like she is being forced by the school into hiding who she is, and attempts to appeal this decision have been unsuccessful. Sign the petition below to demand that the school district make an exception to this policy for Wilson so that she can wear her eagle feather during her graduation.
Dear Superintendent LeBeau,
I am writing you today regarding the controversy that has erupted over Lakes High School’s decision to bar Waverly Wilson from wearing an eagle feather during her upcoming graduation ceremony. This is a ridiculous application of district policy and should be overturned at once.
While I understand the need for rules and regulations regarding what high school students can and cannot wear with their caps and gowns during graduation, the application of those rules in this instance is clearly ridiculous. Wilson is not asking for permission to wear some kind of distracting sign, sunglasses, or advertisement—she’s asking for permission to wear a small token that is significant to her, her family, and her Native American tribe. That is qualitatively different than the things your district policies were, in all likelihood, designed to prevent students from wearing.
The United States has a shameful history of minimizing Native Americans and refusing them and their cultures dignity and respect. Whether you accept it or not, this incident is nothing but a continuation of that history and evidence of Native Americans’ continuing subjugation by American powers. I demand that you grant Wilson an exception to this district policy and allow her to openly wear her eagle feather during graduation.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Yathin S. Krishnappa