Caney Valley Senior Graduates Without Eagle Feather

Thursday, May 21st 2015, 11:17 pm
By: News On 6

The Caney Valley senior who wanted to wear an eagle feather on her graduation cap walked across the stage Thursday. She got her diploma but did it without the feather.

A federal judge ruled Hayden Griffith couldn't wear the feather, and she adhered to the order despite a month-long fight.

While the feather debate has received a lot of attention, Caney Valley administrators said the attention should now be focused on all the graduates.

Thursday was the end of a long chapter for a group of students transitioning to life beyond high school.

Hannah Mackey was one of 43 saying goodbye to Caney Valley High School. A group she believes is ready to meet the world.

“All of them have everything they need to go ahead and be successful in life and they need to take that opportunity and run with it," she said.

Mackey's classmate, Hayden Griffith, has been getting national attention because of her push to wear an eagle feather on her mortar board.

The school district gave her other options for carrying the feather but said it couldn't be attached to her cap.

A federal Magistrate agreed and the ruling was backed up by a federal judge when Griffith's family appealed.

5/21/2015 Related Story: Student Loses Bid To Wear Eagle Feather On Graduation Cap

“We don't anticipate anything because our students at Caney Valley do the right thing," said Caney Valley Superintendent, Rick Peters.

Griffith followed the court ruling Thursday night and graduated without wearing the feather on her cap.

She didn't want to talk, but Peters said he was shocked to see so much attention given to the feather, but said it won't change the district's policy.

“Our board likes where we are with our policy, our community supports where we are, so absolutely not," he said.

Peters said the school's rules and the judge's ruling aren't punitive against Native Americans. He said several students have asked about allowances being made this year, which is why the district doesn't budge for anyone or anything.

"It's just a blanket no, we don't do that. We're the same for everyone," said Peters.

5/19/2015 Related Story: Magistrate Rules Against Caney Valley Senior Wearing Eagle Feather At Graduation

Griffith was given other options to wear the feather on a necklace or in her hair but declined, saying wearing it on her cap was the only proper way.