Highland High School Principal Debra Vigstrom said it was not her intention to offend "our students who are enlisting and especially our military community and veterans" with the school's decision to stick to an academic regalia-only dress code for Thursday's graduation.

It was reported Thursday that students from Highland were told they could not wear military stoles during graduation. One parent, the mother of a Marine, asked to speak to Vigstrom about having her son wear his stole.

According to Highland senior Jasmin Oropeza, Vigstrom and the mother "got into it," and the mother "was escorted out."

On Friday, Vigstrom said that incident did not occur. 

"I never had a parent come in," she said. "The request for wearing stoles was never made to me directly."

Students were seen wearing academic regalia only during Highland's graduation.

In a statement to The Californian, Vigstrom said the decision was "based on our tradition of recognizing four years of academic accomplishments at Highland High School and allowing the academic regalia only at the graduation ceremony."

"... we value our military and the dedication of our students who have prepared to serve our country," she added. "My heart is heavy to think that people believe I am not supportive of our military. Nothing could be further from the truth."

Due to backlash from the community surrounding the decision, Vigstrom said it is an opportunity to "re-evaluate and re-assess our current practice."

"We recognize our students and celebrate their accomplishments," she said.

(7) comments


After my several emails to her (and "read"), I have only one question:
If there is " . . . an academic regalia-only dress code . . . ", why do (academic) military 'stoles' (paid for by fed $$) exist at all, as not part of that 'regalia' . . . ?


BTW . . . Hello 2018 PEAAK AWARDS . . . ?
"Academics" . . . ?
Annmarie Narvaez has become the first Arvin High School student to ever receive a Certificate of Appointment for the United States Military Academy at West Point, school district officials announced this week.
Thanks Kevin . . . !

Stating the obvious

Her heart is heavy? Please. Her job is to get these kids ready to be productive adults. To that end, she has failed utterly in encouraging our future veterans. Shame on this jackwagon of a principal.


Absolutely right. Her inaction here is pitiful, but I’m more upset with the district. They could have stepped in and made a decision here, but chose to remain silent. This is yet another example of how ineffective the KHSD is at, well, just about everything.


* knew


First Principal Vigstrom says, "I never had a parent come in" then she said, "The request for wearing stoles was never made to me directly." It appears, based on the first sentence, Principal Vigstrom new a parent came in but is simply stating that that parent did not get to see her directly. Then, based on the second sentence, it appears Principal Vigstrom had knowledge that the request was made, just not to her (the principal) directly. So, it seems she's parsing words to absolve her inability to make the right decision. It’s clear a wrong and indefensible decision was made and the responsibility rests at the top. Principal Vigstrom’s “’pay no attention to that man behind the curtain’” excuse doesn’t wash with me.


The Californian article from yesterday stated a parent was escorted off campus for addressing the matter concerning the stoles. Knowing Highland I’m sure it’s near impossible to even speak to the queen of the campus. A parent being escorted off campus for addressing Highland and the principal not hearing about it is laughable. The KHSD needs to ultimately be addressed on this matter. According to comments from yesterday Highland, Arvin and Frontier all took part in the egregious decision to deny future brothers and sisters the opportunity to represent their respective service selection. Hopefully a discussion on allowing the military stoles is made for the class of 2020 and I’m not having to read about this next graduation year.

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