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Incoming UW student blocked from walking at high school graduation

The Illinois teen had added Native American regalia to his cap.
The Illinois teen had added Native American regalia to his cap and was wearing an item around his neck.
Published: May. 24, 2022 at 10:46 AM CDT
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EVANSTON, Ill. (WMTV) - An incoming University of Wisconsin student was stopped at the last minute from walking the stage at his Illinois high school to receive his diploma.

Nimkii Curley was about to take the stage at Evanston Township High School when his plans were halted. The graduating senior was told he could not walk unless he switched his cap and removed an item from his neck.

The 17-year-old had placed his Native American regalia on his cap and refused switch it out or take it off.

Nimkii Curley displays his cap during graduation ceremonies in Evanston, Ill.
Nimkii Curley displays his cap during graduation ceremonies in Evanston, Ill.

Curley did end up getting his diploma. The high school principal said he paid a visit to the teen’s home Monday morning to deliver it personally. With his diploma now in hand, Curley told ABC7 in Chicago that the principal “apologized for the situation and I appreciate that.”

School officials explained students had been told prior to graduation ceremonies that they were not allowed to wear additional apparel or adornment. In a new statement, they add a review of graduation guidelines has been launched with a focus on acknowledging the history and stories of indigenous students.

A close-up of the hat Nimkii Curley was wearing during graduation.
A close-up of the hat Nimkii Curley was wearing during graduation.

Curley plans to come to Madison to study Environmental Engineering.

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