READ MORE: Watch: Service dog earns diploma, steals the show at college graduationIt's the latest dispute in the U.S. about what kind of cultural graduation attire is allowed at commencement ceremonies, with many focusing on tribal regalia.Attorneys for Naomi Peña Villasano argued in a hearing Friday in Denver that the school district decision violates her free speech rights.
They also said that it's inconsistent for the district to allow Native American attire but not Peña Villasano's sash representing her heritage. The sash has the Mexican flag on one side and the United States flag on the other.Students throw their graduation caps in the air (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images) "I’m a 200 percenter — 100% American and 100% Mexican," she said at a recent school board meeting in Colorado's rural Western Slope."The district is discriminating against the expression of different cultural heritages," said her attorney Kenneth Parreno, from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, at Friday's hearing.An attorney representing the Garfield County School District 16 countered that Native American regalia is required to be allowed in Colorado and is categorically different from wearing a country's flags.
Permitting Peña Villasano to sport the U.S. and Mexican flags as a sash, said Holly Ortiz, could open "the door to offensive material."Ortiz further stated that the district doesn’t want to prevent Peña Villasano from expressing herself and that the graduate could adorn her cap with the flags or wear the sash before or after the ceremony.But "she doesn’t have a right to express it in any way that she wants," Ortiz said.READ MORE: Trans girl in Mississippi misses graduation after being told to dress like
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