SAILSBURY, NC - An East Rowan High School student was told he could not wear his Marine uniform to his graduation ceremony.
Tristan Roseman says he was told his hard-earned dress blues would ‘stand out’ too much.
“As parents we felt really honored and proud of our son serving our country,” Tristan’s mother Sherri said. “For him to not be allowed to walk across the stage in his uniform, that really hurt us.”
“It’s such a great accomplishment for him to do something like that,” Tristan’s father Allen added.
The Rosemans say the school’s principal, Julie Erdie, claimed that they wanted to keep their graduation’s dress code consistent.
“It felt like it was a disgrace, you know,” Allen said. “For them not to honor or recognize it is just low. It’s just a slap in the face.”
The Rosemans also say school officials told their son he could wear his uniform under his cap and gown.
But Tristan refused, saying he would never cover up and disgrace the uniform.
We contacted Principal Erdie to ask about the situation. She told NBC Charlotte in an email:
“I vaguely remember a casual conversation with the student in the fall semester. Unfortunately, I wasn't contacted this semester and I am heartbroken that we didn't have a more in depth conversation this spring so this could have been resolved.”
But the Rosemans say that’s not how it happened.
“She refused him twice,” Sherri said. “We let it go at that time because we thought that was the school system [policy].”
But NBC Charlotte found out that’s not district policy at all.
District spokesperson Rita Foil told NBC Charlotte in a statement:
“We truly regret that this happened. This topic will be discussed at the August Board of Education meeting.”
The Rosemans say they hope this never happens again.
“Your students are out there fighting for your freedom,” Sherri said. “You sleep well at night knowing that, but you can’t let him walk across your stage in uniform?”
Tristan also graduated from the Marines at Parris Island, where he wore his dress blues proudly.