Thursday, June 04, 2015

California School District Settles Allowing Native American Graduate To Wear Eagle Feather

California's Clovis Unified School District reached a settlement yesterday with Christian Titman, a Native American high school senior who had filed suit two days earlier to force the school district to allow him to wear  an eagle feather during graduation ceremonies today.  (ACLU press release.) Titman argued that the refusal to allow him to honor his Native American heritage and family in this way violated his free speech and religious exercise rights.  (Full text of complaint in Titman v. Clovis Unified School District, CA Super. Ct., filed 6/1/2015.)  The settlement agreement (full text) provides in part:
Christian Titman will be permitted to ... wear the agreed upon prepared eagle feather ... in his hair during the graduation ceremony; and ... upon receipt of his diploma ... is permitted to adorn his graduation cap with the agreed upon eagle feather, and to participate in the tassel turn with the eagle feather connected to his tassel....
Under the agreement, the school will issue a statement indicating that while it remains committed to its tradition of decorum at graduation, it is also committed to working with students and families on accommodations for sincerely held religious beliefs.