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Clovis Unified Reaches Agreement With Native American Student, Feather Dispute Resolved

Jun 3, 2015

An agreement has been reached between the Clovis Unified School District and a Native American student who wanted to wear an eagle feather at his graduation this week.

Clovis High senior Christian Titman, a member of the Pit River Tribe, says he wanted to wear the feather on his graduation cap in honor of his heritage and religion. But after several requests, the school district banned him from doing so, saying it violated the district's graduation dress code.

The ACLU filed a lawsuit against Clovis Unified on Monday on behalf of Titman, saying the district had violated Titman’s civil rights. But on Tuesday night, the district reached an agreement with the student. 

Titman will be allowed to wear the eagle feather in his hair during the entire ceremony and attach the feather on his cap for the traditional tassel turn.

“I was very happy with the agreement that was proposed to us," says Renee Titman, Christian's mother. "Before it had gone to the ACLU we were just flat out told no that’s when the ACLU lawyers got involved and that’s when agreements started coming.”

Clovis Unified says it's been their goal since the start to find a solution that honors and respects the culture of Native American students.

"The district is very committed to maintaining its long tradition of decorum at its graduation ceremony. At the same time we're committed to our practice with working with students and their families when requests for accommodations or exemptions from our graduation dress code fought for sincerely held religious beliefs," says Kelly Avants, spokeswoman for Clovis Unified.

Titman will graduate Thursday night with the rest of his class during the Clovis High graduation.