Chelsey Ramer, center, is pictured with her family after graduation ceremonies at Escambia Academy in May. Ramer wore an eagle feather alongside her tassel as a nod to her Native American roots.
Chelsey Ramer, center, is pictured with her family after graduation ceremonies at Escambia Academy in May. Ramer wore an eagle feather alongside her tassel as a nod to her Native American roots.

Feathers unruffled

Published 5:40pm Friday, June 21, 2013

Following nearly a month of international attention stemming from former EA student Chelsey Ramer’s decision to wear an eagle feather during graduation in opposition to school rules, the institution’s board has, not only given Ramer the diploma they had been withholding from her, but has also dropped the $1,000 fine she was initially required to pay for her actions, according to Interim Headmaster David Walker.

Ben Smith, chairman of the EA board of directors, would not comment on the fine, but said no student from EA’s 2013 graduating class had been denied a diploma due to a disciplinary action.

Despite the school’s warnings, Ramer chose to wear the feather during EA’s graduation ceremony in May, resulting in the board’s refusal to hand over her diploma until she paid the fine.

In the days following the controversial decision, Ramer told The Advance the penalties handed down were worth standing up for what she believed in.

“It was worth every penny of the thousand dollars,” Ramer said.

EA’s board members have remained quiet on the subject, even following their recent decision to overturn their ruling. Walker said he was not part of the board’s decision and is unaware of any further details pertaining to the situation.

“I’m not sure if they are going to release a statement,” he said Friday. “I feel like they will. (Chelsey Ramer) received her diploma this week.”

Ramer’s family, who said in a statement released earlier this month that they would pay the fine in order to not hinder their daughter’s transition into college, also stated that they still supported her decision. Ramer’s mother, Debra, said their decision to pay the fine “doesn’t mean the fight is over.”

In the weeks following EA’s graduation, support from Ramer has come from all over the country, including financial donations intended to help pay the fine.

Following this year’s graduation ceremony, former EA-Headmaster Betty Warren resigned unexpectedly; however, former board chairman Chris Kirk, whose term has since expired, said the two situations were not related.

 

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