State Representative Dan Swanson (R-Alpha) teamed up with the Lieutenant Governor’s Office in crafting legislation which passed the Illinois House on Friday which allows high school seniors to wear their military uniforms at their graduation ceremonies, if they are otherwise in good standing with his or her branch of the military.
“No student in good standing, who has completed boot camp, should be denied the privilege of wearing their dress blues at their High School Commencement Ceremony,” said Rep. Dan Swanson, Chief Sponsor of House Bill 5561. “I am proud to stand up for these young warriors who are standing up for our freedom through their military service.”
Current law allows local school boards to adopt a school uniform or dress code policy for graduation ceremonies and does not preclude a local board from prohibiting military dress uniforms. Several cases across the country have presented, banning students from wearing their military dress uniforms at graduation ceremonies. Currently, California, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New Hampshire have laws on the books protecting students who have completed military boot camp in wearing their dress blues to graduation.
Closer to home, a student from McHenry West High School in McHenry County, in Northeastern Illinois, was barred from wearing a dress military uniform because of local school board rules. This was among several stories that prompted this legislative initiative and push for a change.
“We should all be proud of these young adults’ service and simply feel that they should be allowed to display their uniform at this momentous occasion in their lives,” said Swanson.