Dynasia Clark, a senior at Lamar High School in Darlington County, was looking forward to graduating amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
While other schools skipped the in-person ceremony, Lamar High School was able to find a way to hold the ceremony.
Clark was looking forward to becoming an official graduate on Tuesday, and wore what she felt most comfortable in. However, she was informed that she wouldn’t be allowed to walk because she was in violation of the dress code, which required girls to wear dresses.
Clark, who is openly gay, did not expect the school to stop her.
"I didn't think it would be that big of a deal, because we're already here, we're already fixing to walk but now I can't go because of a dress code," she said.
When she realized that school officials were not going to budge, she left the ceremony.
"I was angry more than anything because we worked hard to even have a graduation and then I can't walk because I don't got on a dress," she said.
She then watched her fellow students graduate from the other side of the gate.
She said, "I was okay standing outside the gate watching them graduate because they're my classmates. I wouldn't want to just go home because I can't walk."
She waited to hear her name called out, but it never was.
"That was the part that made me more mad than anything because I was there you could have least called my name. It seems crazy to me. It seems stupid, like petty because it was just an outfit to me," she stated.
"It shouldn't have stopped me from doing something what I have been waiting on for 12 years-- I went to school. Everybody be happy for their graduation day and I couldn't even experience that" she added.
Darlington County School District released the following statement addressing the incident:
“The Lamar High School dress code for graduation has been in place for more than 20 years. We welcome students or parents who have concerns with any policy or procedure to meet with administration and discuss those concerns. In the past, when a student raised concern with the administration about the dress code prior to graduation day, the issue was addressed.”
Clark maintained that people should not be judged based on their looks or what they are wearing, but by their personality and who they are.