A North Carolina high school graduate finally has a diploma after it was withheld when he crossed the stage draped in a Mexican flag. Ever Lopez’ act became a flashpoint in the city of Asheboro, fueling threats and social media attacks.
A video of Thursday’s graduation ceremony at Asheboro High School shows Lopez crossing the stage in line with the orange, white and green Mexican flag draped over his blue graduation gown. He was handed a diploma holder before walking up to school principal Penny Crooks. Lopez then seems to try to remove the flag before walking off without his diploma.
Lopez said he wore the flag out of pride for his Mexican roots. He said he is the first member of his immediate family to graduate from high school.
School officials told the family that wearing the flag over his gown was a violation of the graduation dress code.
In a press conference that was carried on Facebook Live, Margarita Lopez, Ever’s mother, said the family wants a change to the dress code. “Because we believe that any student wherever they’re from has a right to be able to express themselves and where they come from.”
Lopez’ comments were translated by Kelly Morales, executive director of Siembra NC.
Ever Lopez and his family met with school officials while getting the diploma. They praised Crooks for her willingness to talk more about the issue.
Crooks received death threats after Lopez was denied his diploma. The Lopez family denounced the threats and said Crooks deserved to be treated with respect.