LAS VEGAS, N.M. (KRQE) – Cap, gown and tassel are all the essentials for graduation day but what if you can’t afford it?
One student said he was faced with that dilemma but says instead of his school helping him they tried to humiliate him.
Most high school students count down the days until graduation but Robertson High School graduate Aiden Rodgers said he got a taste of harsh reality during his much-anticipated graduation day.
“I was hurt. I was offended on a personal level because my educators failed me,” Rodgers said.
Rodgers said he couldn’t afford the required cap, gown and tassel before the ordering deadline.
He said he expressed his financial situation with his school leaders but instead of help he feels like he received retaliation.
“My counselor and my principal went to the back of the storage room and pulled out a girls cap and gown and a tassel from the year before,” Rodgers said.
During the ceremony boys wore red and girls wore white representing the school’s colors but since Rodgers couldn’t get his hands on a red gown he took the white gown to graduation and just held it.
It was a decision he made for being given a girls cap and gown.
“I wanted to make it as formal as possible while still maintaining some sort of a protest,” Rodgers said.
But it was the stance the young man took that prevented him from walking on stage to receive his diploma. Faculty didn’t even announce his name instead the principal escorted him out of line when he was second to walk on stage.
His father says Rodgers wasn’t allowed the same opportunity as his fellow students, “he earned the right to walk across that stage,” Tony Rodgers said.
Aiden said the lasting impression he hopes to leave, is don’t allow anyone to say you can’t.
When we asked the principal why Aiden wasn’t allowed on stage he didn’t give us a direct answer instead he said the graduate was given his diploma.
No word from the superintendent.