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Uniform bill expected to pass

Born of local controversy, bill would allow enlisted high school students to graduate in military

Posted: August 19, 2009 9:12 p.m.
Updated: August 20, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Nicholas Laccabue wears his U.S. Marine uniform at his Saugus High School graduation ceremony at College of the Canyons on June 3. The bill is expected to pass through the Assembly today.

A bill that would allow high school students who are in the military to wear their dress uniforms to high school graduation ceremonies is expected to pass through the Assembly today.

Its next stop will be the governor’s desk, where it would be signed into law.

Assembly Bill 1463, authored by local Republican Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, was born of a Santa Clarita Valley controversy.

Earlier this year, the Saugus High School principal had forbidden then-student Nicholas Laccabue to graduate in his Marine Corps uniform.

The move drew outrage from local residents and politicians, notably Smyth and U.S. Congressman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon — now the ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee.

Ultimately, the principal reversed his decision and Laccabue wore his dress blues to the ceremony.

The William S. Hart Union High School District has since changed its dress code to allow seniors to graduate in military uniforms.

It was the Laccabue family’s first brush with politics and the legislative process, said his mother, Shari Laccabue of Saugus.

“You know what’s amazing? Just being a mom, an everyday American, I (thought I) just don’t have anything to do with anything,” she said.

“A change like that has really given me a new insight into government and makes me say, ‘Yeah, I do have a voice.’”



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