Update: Pinkerton Academy will allow military sashes at graduation
UPDATE: Pinkerton Academy has announced they will allow military sashes to be worn with graduation robes. This is a breaking news update, an earlier story follows
DERRY — When Pinkerton Academy senior Sklyar Anderson was told she could not wear a sash signifying her service in the National Guard at graduation, her mother Laurie said her daughter was heartbroken.
Anderson has two grandfathers who served in the Vietnam War, one of whom earned a purple heart. In January, Sklyar decided to follow in their footsteps of military service and joined the National Guard.
Anderson said her daughter was given a sash by the National Guard to wear over her graduation robes.
"She is not going to be wearing a uniform," said Anderson. "They gave her a sash, and they won't allow it. That's not right."
However, Pinkerton Academy officials said no final decision has been made on the request by Anderson and the active military members.
Pinkerton Academy Headmaster Mary Anderson learned of the request on Tuesday and will be discussing it with the school's senior administrative team today, according to Chip Underhill, Pinkerton public affairs director.
"After that, a decision on the request should be forthcoming," said Underhill.
Anderson said her daughter is one of three active military members graduating from Pinkerton this month, and that they were all told they would not be able to wear their military insignia during the ceremony. Skylar was called down to the office on Tuesday morning and was told she would not be able to wear her sash, according to Anderson.
"She is very upset," said Anderson. "She is an honest, straight-A student.
She said she had contacted a dean at the school about the situation on Thursday but had not heard back from her.
Anderson said her daughter has been taking part in National Guard service every weekend since January and will be going to boot camp this summer.
Next fall, Skylar plans on studying veterinary sciences at the University of Vermont and then is pledged to six years of military service following college.
"If we go to war, she could be called into service," said Anderson. "Then she has six years of service after college."
With the robust Air Force JROTC program at Pinkerton Academy and the respect students paid to former student Paul DeMeo, an Army Ranger who died at Fort Bragg last month, Anderson said the school is sending out a mixed message when it comes to military service.
"Everyone is really proud of their country, but they are sending the wrong message," said Anderson. "We're not back in the '60s."