Cumberland County Schools reach compromise over graduation flap

CUMBERLAND COUNTY, NC (WTVD) -- Cumberland County schools addressed a graduation controversy involving Native American students and their push to wear stoles with their cap and gown. The board will now allow them to honor their heritage in a different way.

A few months back, Cheyenne Strickland led a petition demanding the school board lift the "discriminatory" ban on Native American students wearing stoles on graduation.

With the help of hundreds of advocates, most of whom signed off on the petition, the school board made a compromise with them.

"As Native Americans, we're a small population, so we don't get recognized for that many things," Cheyenne said. "They said the students will still receive the graduation stoles, but they can't wear them at graduation. They can only wear them at school events."

Along with the new policy, students will be allowed to wear chords, which the school board will pay for.

The school district released this statement to ABC11:

"School-based cords that meet an academic or service standard, as approved by the principal, are also allowed. With the principal's approval, other stoles and cords may be worn by students at the school's Senior Awards ceremony."

For Cheyenne, the fight to wear stoles at graduation is not over. She hopes one day her younger siblings will get to walk across the stage wearing it.

"Maybe one day, we can have the stoles and the cords for our graduation," she said.
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