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Farmington Municipal Schools apologizes for taking away student’s graduation cap

FARMINGTON, N.M. (KRQE) – Farmington Municipal Schools is now apologizing for an incident at a graduation ceremony earlier this week. During the Farmington High School graduation on Monday, two staff members took away a student’s graduation cap that was adorned with Native American beading. Staff gave the student a new, plain cap to wear instead.

The district superintendent and the school principal issued a statement saying:

Farmington Municipal Schools and Farmington High School would like to apologize to the community, the student, and her family, for the events at graduation involving the Native American regalia. The intent, always, is to create a ceremony that is inclusive of all graduates and honors all of our students. It is clear that what occurred detracted from that and had the opposite effect. We are confident that our staff intended no disrespect or to violate anyone’s cultural beliefs or practices. In a community like ours, we need to have a new conversation about meaningful ways to best celebrate all of our graduates.

To learn from this experience and to improve our school community, we will continue to collaborate with groups within the Navajo Nation and other community stakeholders to begin the healing process and figure out the best ways to move forward. We are committed to learning from this experience and improving our school communities now and in the future.

Cody Diehl, Superintendent of Farmington Municipal Schools and Rocky Torres, Principal of Farmington High School

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham issued a statement on Friday:

In New Mexico, we are proud of and committed to our diversity, and what happened at the Farmington High School graduation ceremony does not reflect that commitment. It is unacceptable that a student was reprimanded for representing their culture during a time of celebration. 

I appreciate that the Farmington schools acknowledge that they could have handled this situation better and that their policy may be too restrictive. However, it shouldn’t have required the student raising this issue for a school to recognize its lack of inclusivity.”

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham

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