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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

East Valley High School reverses course and will allow military stoles at commencement

Chase Wiedmer, brother to Quinton Wiedmer, is pictured with his military stole during East Valley’s 2021 graduation. The East Valley School District had prohibited stoles to be worn during the school’s graduation ceremony, but has since reversed the policy for military stoles.  (Courtesy photo)
By Nina Culver For The Spokesman-Review

East Valley High School has reversed its policy prohibiting seniors who have enlisted in the military from wearing military stoles at the school’s graduation ceremony Monday night.

“I’m very happy with the decision,” said parent Joe Wiedmer.

Senior Quinton Wiedmer, who has enlisted in the U.S. Marines, was told Friday that he couldn’t wear his military stole during the graduation ceremony despite the fact that his older brothers, who graduated in 2018 and 2021, were allowed to wear their military stoles.

That led Joe Wiedmer to contact the school to ask about what he believed was a new policy but was told by Principal Matt Stevens  that the policy had been in place for five years. The graduation dress code limited students to stoles and cords issued by the school, which included a red, white and blue cord given to those who have enlisted in the military.

“We believe serving our country is an honorable and noble thing, which we want to recognize,” Stevens  said last week.

Stevens also said he didn’t know why Wiedmer’s other sons were allowed to wear their stoles.

Joe Wiedmer said he was called Monday by East Valley School District Superintendent Brian Talbott, who told him the policy had been changed to allow military stoles. “He said they had multiple meetings over the weekend and came to the decision to allow the military members to wear their stoles,” he said.

Talbott said the intent of the policy was not to minimize the military service of graduates but to create a standard dress code.

“Principal Stevens  made the decision that the stoles for the military are going to be allowed,” he said. “Unfortunately, not all of our students going into the military received stoles from their recruiters. I think moving forward we’ll ask all recruiters to provide a stole.”

Talbott said he regrets that no one realized the policy was in place when notifications were first made to families in a letter to parents in April.

Wiedmer said he sent letters to both Talbott and Stevens  thanking them for their decision, but said he’d like to see the policy to allow military stoles officially approved by the board of directors.

“That’s what I’m going to work toward next,” he said. “I don’t want to have another class or another student go through this.”

Editor’s note: This story was changed on June 14, 2022 to correct the spelling of Matt Stevens’ name.