ASHEBORO, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina high school
graduate has received his diploma following a social media
outcry over the Mexican
flag he wore over his gown.
According to news outlets, Ever Lopez, 18, walked out of Asheboro High School on Monday with the diploma in his hands and showed it to a small crowd.
Lopez appears to try to remove the red, white, and green
Mexican flag draped over his blue graduation
gown in a 68-second video from Thursday's graduation ceremony. He was handed a diploma holder before walking up to school principal Penny Crooks
, and Lopez then appears to walk away without his diploma.
Asheboro City Schools
said in a statement on Friday that Lopez violated a part of the graduation dress code
that prohibited the wearing of flags, but that couldn't stop the online backlash. Crooks received death
threats, and someone threatened to shoot up the school if he didn't get his diploma, so the Lopez family sought a meeting to smooth things over.
Lopez supporters gathered at the school on Monday, while unmarked Asheboro police
cars were parked nearby in response to the threats, according to WFMY. Police also increased patrols around the high school and in the principal's neighborhood, according to WFMY. The family held a news conference
before going inside to speak with school administrators before Lopez emerged with his diploma.
Lopez stated that, while he appreciates the support, the threats directed at the principal should cease.
“If you're going to send her an email or say something, at least leave out the threats,” Lopez said, adding, "I just feel like they should respect her even if she did something wrong, you know?"
Lopez said he wore the flag to show his pride
for his Mexican roots, and he is the first member of his immediate family to graduate from high school.