"I do not want the controversy that is saturating social media, and I do not want to draw attention away from the Class of 2016," Howerton told Northwest Herald Friday. "That being said, it was my choice not to participate in the graduation."
Video posted by Klein shows Howerton being cheered on and encouraged by her fellow classmates.
I took this video last night at the end of the ceremony. I had no idea what I witnessed. The class of 2016 clearly wanted this Marine to be recognized. Regardless of dress code uniformity. They were unified as a class and clearly proud of their friend and classmate. My plead to the superintendent and District 156 is to have leniency in regards to this policy as Megan the Marine obviously has a positive effect on her fellow classmen. She not only graduated early, but she graduated Marine bootcamp! This commitment to service is an act of selflessness & accomplishment. Way to go Warrior Nation 2016! #AlwaysFaithful #WarriorClassof2016 #letmeganwalk #changethefuturePosted by Lisa Klein on Friday, May 20, 2016
The Northwest Herald reported that Colin Brennan, an active-duty Marine and 2014 McHenry West graduate, said it was "unfair to the district to be looked at so negatively by the entire community for following a rule."
Klein said that although Howerton was unable to walk at graduation and her name was not called, she received her diploma after the ceremony with the other students.