Courtesy Adolfo Hurtado

Dress-codes at school have recently become a hot-button topic. Not only are they arbitrary, but school administrators enforce them in inconsistent ways too. Often, students of color become the target of punishment over what they wear at school because it doesn’t fit the standard American definition of what is acceptable. The most recent example is when 18-year-old Ever Lopez was punished for wearing a Mexican flag to his graduation ceremony.

Recently, a video went viral of a principal denying a Latino student his high school diploma because he wore a Mexican flag at the graduation ceremony.

The video was originally posted on TikTok by saraiiii.martinez and quickly racked up 1.2 million views. It was captioned: “How they not gonna give my brother his diploma because he wore a Mexican flag?” The video is hectic, but it appeared to show a group of people arguing with the superintendent about the incident.

A second video posted by dolfincosmetics showed the actual incident. The video shows a bunch of students, all clad in blue robes, lining up single-file to receive their diplomas. When it is Ever Lopez’s turn to get his diploma, the principal won’t give it to him. The crowd begins to boo. We see the principal talking to him for an extended period of time before Lopez leaves the stage, sans diploma. Lopez holds up a fist to the audience, and the crowd cheers.

Asheboro High School says that 18-year-old Ever Lopez broke the dress code and that’s why he didn’t receive his diploma.

In the TikTok video, Lopez’s family argues that other students who broke the dress code still received their diploma. Nevertheless, Asheboro administration did not back down. According to the Lopez family’s social media posts, the school principal wanted Lopez to apologized and “say what he did was wrong” before giving him his diploma. Ever declined to do so.

After the backlash against the school became severe, the school relented and gave Ever Lopez his diploma on Monday. The school also said that they would “consider reevaluating their guidelines to allow students to express themselves outside of customizing their mortarboards”

After going through such a public ordeal, Lopez’s family is still shaken at the actions of the Asheboro High School administration.

“We feel it was an act of racism and of humiliation not only towards our family but to the entire Latino community here,” said Ever’s mother, Margarita Lopez to the Washington Post. “We are so grateful to this country for all the opportunities it has given us, but the moment was just such a disappointment.” They also strongly condemn the threats that the school district’s employees are receiving.

Asheboro High School gave their final word on the matter in an updated statement. “As with all graduates, we wish [Ever] well and we will continue to serve our community in ways that help all young people meet their full potential.”