Point Boro High Schooler prohibited from wearing Marine sash at graduation
Jersey Shore Assemblymen Edward H. “Ned’ Thomson (R- Monmouth) and Ryan Peters (R- Burlington) announced they are drafting legislation that would require school districts to allow students to wear military sashes at graduation ceremonies.
The bill would force schools to establish graduation policies that would let students joining a military branch wear official articles such as a sash that denotes the branch in which they enlisted.
Legislation was drafted in response to Point Pleasant Borough High School graduate Billy Borowsky who was told he could not wear a sash indicating he had joined the U.S. Marines at a recent graduation ceremony.
“Young men and women who choose to serve our country should be lauded for their decision to join our armed forces,” Thomson said. “While schools will retain the authority to govern decorum at graduation, the students joining the armed forces are deserving of special recognition for their decision to serve our nation. Letting them show off their military branch is a simple way to demonstrate our gratitude. School districts have to balance many responsibilities and this bill will help ensure there is no confusion regarding the right of these brave men and women to display their patriotism during graduation ceremonies.”
“Every year, I go to local high schools to honor students entering the military, and it really makes a difference when we show our support,” Peters, a former Navy SEAL who currently serves as a lieutenant commander for SEAL Team 18 in the Naval Reserve, said. “The morale of our military is important, and we should do what we can to boost it. They earned this recognition.”
Borowsky, a wrestler who helped Point Boro High School win a third straight Class B-South Division Title earlier this year, was reportedly threatened by high school principal Kurt Karcich prior to graduation that he would be thrown out of the ceremony with a police escort if he wore the sash, his father Bill told New Jersey 101.5's Bill Spadea.
Story continues below video from the Shore Sports Network:
"He and the other senior who is entering the Air Force were acknowledged and there was a heartwarming standing ovation, however the sash is what's more important," Bill Borowsky Sr. told Bill Spadea. "I asked my son, I asked another graduate -- his friend who is in the Army -- last year and these guys would rather have the sash than a standing ovation."
He said he made a plea to the Point Pleasant Board of Education this week over the school district's policy that bars wearing a sash.
Before the ceremony, Billy was pulled outside the high school auditorium and asked to open his graduation gown.
The principal reportedly said, "open your gown, let me see...do you have your sash on? and he (Billy) said no I don't," Borowsky said.
His father then said the principal attempted to open his gown a little more, "and my son said get your hands off of me."
Two police officers joined the principal and Borowsky outside over the sash.
Borowsky didn't have the sash on him at that time but his father believed that his son was being intimidated by the principal into making sure that was the case.
Billy Borowsky is now heading for Paris Island in the fall of 2019, but wasn't allowed to wear a U.S. Marine Corps sash at his graduation.
More Jersey Shore News: