Ala. student denied diploma for wearing cultural feather at grad - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Ala. student denied diploma for wearing cultural feather at graduation

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(WTVM) -

A student at a private Alabama high school says she was denied her diploma and fined all because of what she wore during her graduation ceremony.

More than a week after graduation, 17 year old Chelsey Ramer still does not have her diploma. She may have to pay a $1000 fine before she ever gets it or her transcript.

She says it is all because of the eagle feather she wore in her cap. The feather is part of her Poarch Creek Native American heritage, which her tribal teacher, Alex Alvarez, says she earned.

"Being honored with a feather for graduation is just a wonderful experience and it's a lot more than just showing off that you're proud of your culture. It has its ties into our spirituality as well," says Alvarez.

Before the ceremony, Ramer asked headmaster Berry Warren for permission to wear the feather. She was denied.

Shortly afterwards students say they were told they must sign a contract in order to walk.

"I never signed it," says Ramer.

She still walked with her feather and with the support of her family, standing up for what she believes.

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