Parent: School refused to let student graduate in Marine uniform - | WBTV Charlotte

Parent: School refused to let student graduate in Marine uniform

Tristan Roseman (Source: Allen Roseman) Tristan Roseman (Source: Allen Roseman)
SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) -

The parent of a recent graduate of East Rowan High School wants to know why that school's former principal refused to let his son wear his Marine uniform at the recent graduation.

"I would like some answers from East Rowan High School and principal Ms. Julia Erdie as to why my son was not allowed to wear his Marine uniform to graduate with his class this past Saturday while other high schools in the same county, (Carson and Salisbury High School) did allow it," Allen Roseman wrote to WBTV.   "To not allow these young men and women to display their much deserved uniform is a disgrace and display of being unappreciative to say the least."

WBTV did reach out to Rowan-Salisbury Schools and found that Roseman was correct.  Tristan Roseman was not allowed to wear the uniform while Graham Reynolds of Jesse C. Carson High did wear his Marine uniform during graduation.

"Reynolds finished his classes at Carson in January and headed to Parris Island for his Marine basics training. He completed his training last week, just in time for graduation," according to The Salisbury Post.

Rowan-Salisbury Schools public information officer Rita Foil told WBTV that Erdie vaguely remembers a casual conversation with the student in the fall semester.

"She was not contacted this semester, and she is heartbroken that they did not have a more in depth conversation this spring so this could have been resolved," Foil wrote in an email to WBTV. "To clarify, I checked with Salisbury High, and they did not have a student graduate in a military uniform. We truly regret that this happened. This topic will be discussed at the August Board of Education meeting."

"It's funny how principal Erdie seems vague on memory with this as it was addressed not only by us, but a Marine friend of my son and hs graduate too," Allen Roseman wrote.  "They went in the Marines together and both graduated as well which surprises me as she has close family ties to the military."

Tristan Roseman is now in field training with the Marines.  He chose not to return to Rowan County for Saturday's graduation after being told he could not wear his uniform.

Erdie is no longer the principal at East Rowan High School.  Former Corriher-Lipe Middle School principal Tonya Brinegar-German will be the new principal at East Rowan High School.  German's appointment was approved at last week's meeting of the Rowan-Salisbury School Board.

Board Chairman Josh Wagner told WBTV that he does not believe it is a decision that should be made at the school level.

"As an Army veteran, I was greatly disappointed to hear of this situation," Wagner said.  "I have the utmost respect for our students that choose to serve their country. Unfortunately, I was unaware of this until yesterday. I spoke to the father of the student by phone. I thanked him for his son's service, and apologized for the decision. In my opinion, this is not a decision that should be made at the school level. Had I been made aware beforehand, I would have certainly gotten involved in an effort to correct the issue. I will be bringing a policy to the board in August that will remove the decision making process from the school level. If it passes, we will ensure that all active duty military students that wish to return for graduation and wear their issued dress uniform, will be allowed to do so."

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