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Sat Jun 1, 2019, 05:01 AM

Brookings School District Apologizes for Principal's Illegal Feather Seizure

The Brookings School District has publicly apologized to new graduate Miles Livermont for illegally seizing the eagle feather he wore to graduation last Sunday:

A statement from Brookings School District Superintendent Klint Willert released Tuesday afternoon says:

“On behalf of the Brookings School District, I want to offer a sincere apology for events that transpired at the graduation ceremony for the class of 2019.

“After Miles Livermont, a graduating senior, was observed with an eagle feather attached to his graduation mortarboard, high school staff and administration requested the feather be removed. The practice of preventing modifications to mortarboards or graduation gowns has been a long-held practice of the Brookings School District. Following the request by district officials, Miles removed the feather from his mortarboard. After an unsuccessful attempt to contact his parents to hold the feather, Miles proceeded to ask a high school staff member to hold the feather for safe keeping until the conclusion of the graduation ceremony.

“As the ceremony was beginning, Miles’ parents realized the feather was not attached to the mortarboard. They then located the feather and attached the sacred object to the mortarboard for the graduation ceremony. Miles fully participated in the remainder of the graduation ceremony with the sacred feather attached to his mortarboard. He was awarded his diploma along with over 190 other graduates.

“The Brookings School District honors and respects the significance of the sacred eagle feather and pledges to equally respect the law which protects tribal regalia and objects of cultural significance to be worn at a school honoring or graduation ceremony. The School District regrets the misapplication of its longstanding practice of denying modified mortarboards and gowns at graduation. Looking forward, the district will take the necessary steps to ensure students are allowed to express pride in their tribal heritage at future school honorings and graduation ceremonies. Specifically, we extend our apology to Miles and his entire family and have scheduled a meeting with the family to discuss this matter further.

“On behalf of all involved in this matter from the Brookings School District, I offer my sincere and heartfelt apology. We know that graduation often marks the final experience in our school district for students and, unfortunately, Miles last experience was not as joyous as it might have been. For that, we are truly sorry” [Jill Fier, “School District Apologizes for Feather Removal,” Brookings Register, 2019.05.29].

“Request” doesn’t sound like what Miles Livermont and his mom, Tasiyagnunpa Livermont Barondeau, experienced. The school officials “insisted” Livermont remove the feather, despite his explanation of the state law protecting his right to wear tribal regalia at graduation.

Read more: http://dakotafreepress.com/2019/05/31/brookings-school-district-apologizes-for-principals-illegal-feather-seizure/

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