Jun 4, 2013 1:46 PM by WPMI-TV

Diploma denied for student who wore Native feather in mortarboard

(WPMI) - An Alabama high school student says she was denied a diploma and fined $1,000 for wearing an eagle feather at her graduation.

For 17-year-old Chelsey Ramer, graduating on May 23 was supposed to be a joyous occasion.

"I was excited," said Ramer.

It has been more than a week, and she still does not have her diploma. She said it is all because of her feather.

"They told me that if I wore it that they would pull me off the field," said Ramer.

The eagle feather is part of her Native American Heritage. Ramer is of the Poarch Creek Band of Indians. She wanted to wear the feather as a show of pride for her heritage.

"Being honored with a feather for graduation is a wonderful experience. It's a lot more than showing off your culture. It has ties into our spirituality as well," Ramer's former teacher Alex Alvarez.

According to a school contract, Ramer must pay a $1,000 fine to get her diploma and transcripts.

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