June 20, 2013

Poarch Creek student avoids fine

Poarch Creek Student Not Required to Pay Fine, Receives Diploma

By Vincent SchillingAfter nearly a month of not knowing her fate, Chelsey Ramer, of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, and her family have been informed by Escambia Academy officials that she would not have to pay a $1,000 fine for wearing an eagle feather on her cap during her graduation ceremony in May. (Related story: “Poarch Creek Student Fined for Wearing Eagle Feather at Graduation”)

Escambia interim headmaster David Walker was not able to comment with any specific details about the matter, but he did confirm that Ramer would receive her diploma and would not pay the copy,000 fine.

“The young lady has her diploma; she received it yesterday. She did not have to pay a fine,” said Walker. “The decision was made before graduation. Chelsey has done everything she needed to do to fulfill her graduation requirement.”

Even if Ramer had been made to pay the fine, enough money was raised by an online campaign to cover the cost, so the family wouldn’t have to pay it. The “Chelsey Ramer can’t graduate because she is proud to be Native American” campaign was started by Dan Morrison, communications director at First Peoples Worldwide, and has raised $1,127 that will now go to Chelsey’s education.
Comment:  This story played out about as I expected. There was no way the school district was going to enforce the fine. It would've been a PR nightmare.

For more on the subject, see Christian Prayer Yes, Native Prayer No and Student Fined for Wearing Feather.

Below:  "Pictured is the Ramer family, from left, Jamie Ramer, Chelsey’s father; Chelsey Ramer; and Debra Ramer, her mother, at Chelsey’s graduation."

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