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June 8, 2013

Pinkerton allows graduate to wear Guard sash

School makes exception to policy

DERRY — Pinkerton Academy is reversing course and allowing a student to wear her National Guard sash to graduation.

The school’s administration announced yesterday afternoon that Skylar Anderson, 18, will be able to wear the sash over her graduation gown June 17 after the senior was told Tuesday she could not, school spokesman Chip Underhill said.

Laurie Anderson said her daughter was devastated when she asked if the sash was allowed and an associate dean said it would violate school policy. Pinkerton only permitted school sashes, such as those worn by National Honor Society members, Laurie Anderson said.

“I don’t think it’s right,” she said yesterday, shortly before administrators gathered to reconsider the decision.

The Pinkerton Board of Trustees met Thursday night to discuss the matter as well, Underhill said.

“I want them to respect the military and respect this country,” the mother said. “I don’t know why it’s such a big deal for her to wear her sash.”

Anderson said Skylar joined the National Guard in January because she wanted to serve her country. She was also inspired because her grandfathers served in the Vietnam War, one earning a Purple Heart.

“She’s been thinking about it for a few years,” Anderson said. “She is really proud of her grandfathers.”

Anderson said she didn’t understand why the school told Skylar she couldn’t wear her military sash but encouraged Derry students to a honor a former Pinkerton student whose funeral was held last week.

Hundreds of students lined the street and waved small American flags during the procession for 1st Lt. Paul DeMeo. The 23-year-old Army ranger died unexpectedly May 14 while serving at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

Pinkerton headmaster Mary Anderson issued a statement yesterday, saying the school did not intend to show any disrespect.

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