Advertisement
  1. Gradebook

Florida Legislature would allow teens in military to wear dress uniforms to graduation

The issue arose after the Newsome High School 2018 ceremony.
Pinellas Park High School seniors attend graduation at Tropicana Field on Thursday, May 17, 2018, in St. Petersburg, Fla. MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE | Times
Published Apr. 30

Future Florida high school graduates who are members of the U.S. Armed Forces will have the right to wear their dress uniforms at their commencement ceremonies, under legislation (SB 292) unanimously supported by the state House and Senate.

The two-page bill came into play because of two Hillsborough County lawmakers, who were upset about a 2018 story from Newsome High in their district.

Senior Emily Olson already had completed basic training, and wanted to wear her dress blues during graduation, to show her accomplishment, as Spectrum News 9 reported at the time.

School officials rejected her request, and said she had to wear the traditional cap and gown that all other classmates would have on.

Sen. Tom Lee, the bill sponsor, said he understood why the school took the position it took, noting any wavering in the rules could open the floodgates to other demands. He argued that the Legislature should clear the path for schools to permit their students in the military to represent the service without repercussions.

The legislation states: “A district school board may not prohibit a student from lawfully wearing the dress uniform of any of the Armed Forces of the United States or of the state at his or her graduation ceremony.”

Rep. Mike Beltran, R-Lithia, sponsored the House version, which ultimately was replaced by the Senate bill. He made a basic introduction of the idea, which generated little debate throughout its several committee and floor stops, at third and final reading Tuesday morning.

The measure passed 115-0, and now heads to Gov. Ron DeSantis for his consideration.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. First page of school data report Times staff
    Find your school in these reports.
  2. Colleen Beaudoin is selected Pasco County School Board chairwoman for 2020, and Allen Altman is named vice chairman. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff
    Altman chosen as vice chairman.
  3. Melissa Snively and Steve Cona III are the new chair and vice chair of the Hillsborough County School Board. MARLENE   |  Times staff
    Steve Cona III is vice chair.
  4. Hillsborough County School Board member Karen Perez MARLENE SOKOL  |  Times staff
    School board member Karen Perez sees student stress in her social work practice.
  5. Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at pre-legislative news conference on Tuesday Oct. 29, 2019, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon) STEVE CANNON  |  AP
    He’s got a new voucher proposal, as well.
  6. Pasco school bus drivers are among those school-related employees who would get a 3.25 percent raise under a tentative contract agreement for 2019-20.
    District, union attention now turns to teacher contracts.
  7. Teacher Kate Newell watches seventh graders Aaron Roxberry and Jacob Iovino practice the slope-intercept formula in one of her weekly visits to their Bayonet Point Middle algebra class, which Newell usually teaches remotely. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  8. eSchool teacher Kate Newell holds a discussion-based assessment with eighth-grader Ariana Toro during a recent visit to Bayonet Point Middle School. Newell leads the math course remotely most days, but comes to campus at least once weekly to give her students some extra attention. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff
    Principals increasingly turn to virtual instruction to fill their vacancies.
  9. Victoria Arriaga, left, does a letter-matching activity during Priscilla Perez's pre-kindergarten class at West Tampa Elementary School in 2018.  [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]
    Reading proficiency, however, continues to be a challenge.
  10. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is proposing $1 billion in increased teacher pay as part of a $91.4 billion state budget he put forward on Monday. CHRIS URSO  |  Times
    The Florida governor also wants to hire hundreds of new corrections officers and spend $1.4 billion on hurricane recovery.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement