Principal of Marshall Apologizes to Marines for Graduation Ceremony Incident
We reported on an incident that occurred between the Principal of Marshall Michigan High School and two Marines at Marshall High School's graduation ceremony.
The incident centered on what was said and not said to two graduating seniors who had earned enough credits to graduate early so they could go to the Marines Boot Camp in South Carolina (Parris Island). They completed their boot camp training in time to come home and walk with their graduating class.
Words were said to the two marines concerning them wearing their dress uniforms instead of their cap and gowns during that graduation ceremony.
Let’s go back to where it all started. Months before the commencement ceremony, the two students/Marines asked if they could wear their dress uniforms to the commencement instead of their cap and gowns. School officials told those two Marines that no exceptions would be made to the policy requiring graduates to wear a cap and gown. However they were told they would be given red-white-and-blue cords that the Marines could wear over their shoulders to signify their service.
The two Marines declined that offer and on the day of graduation they decided that they were either going to wear their dress uniforms or as stated to me by one of the fathers, sit quietly in the stands and not participant in the ceremony. On that day they asked the Superintendent if they could wear their dress uniforms and the Superintendent reluctantly agreed.
What came after that is what is in some dispute, as reported by WBCK:
Christy Shaver, said in a Facebook post that when her son shook hands with School Board Member Dr. George Seifert he told him he was a "disappointment". She says Principal Scott Hutchins told him something to the effect of "he was a dishonorable Marine because he came in uniform and threatened to watch from the stands if he wasn't allowed to wear it.
Dr. Seifert told WBCK in an exclusive response that when he addressed Shaver's son at the ceremony he said "Congratulations, I'm disappointed."
I interviewed Jon Shaver, the father of one of the Marines, on my show Live With Renk, regarding the incident and he acknowledged that the comment made by Dr. Seifert was "I'm disappointed", not "you're a disappointment". Now regarding Principal Hutchin's alleged comments, Mr. Shaver stated, again on my show, that his son felt disrespected, although he admits he was not in the vicinity when the comments were made. He went on to say he believes what his son told him was true about being told, in some way or another, that he was being "dishonorable".
At the time Jon and Christy Shaver were asking for a formal apology from Marshall Public Schools regarding the Principal's comments to their son.
Well they just received one from the Principal of Marshall High School, Scott Hutchins. The Battle Creek Enquirer is reporting that Principal Hutchins apologized publicly on Monday to those two Marines. Principal Hutchins said:
As the proud son of a veteran of the Vietnam War, I have the utmost respect for all military personnel and family members that sacrifice right along with their soldiers, and I am extremely thankful for their service, sacrifice, and dedication to our country…I deeply regret that my actions have been misrepresented on social media…My attempt at making this a teachable moment with two students that graduated from Marine Boot Camp clearly was not successful.
Mr. Hutchins went on to say:
It was never my intent to offend or upset anyone or to do something that may have tarnished the memory of an amazing commencement ceremony, and I am sorry for any distress I have caused these two young men and their families…In a private conversation initiated by me after the commencement ceremony, I thanked both students for their service and dedication to our country and reminded them that honor is a core value of the Marine Corps, and shared with them why I felt their actions were not honorable when they chose not to follow our rules…I have never referred to any member of our Armed Forces as dishonorable or said that they brought dishonor to their branch of the military, because I understand the implications of that word to our brave men and women that serve.
Does this end this controversy, we will see?
By the way, do the Marines have an official position on this incident? Marine spokesman 1st Lt. William Tunney said they do not.
Congratulations to those two young men who decided to serve and defend our country. I wish them the best and pray they will be safe while serving and defending our country.