THURSDAY, MAY 24TH, 2018
With graduation nearly a month away, Palo Alto High School seniors are eagerly anticipating the bittersweet occasion, envisioning the iconic scene: a sea of fellow students, all clad in Paly’s telltale green and white colors. This year, however, this vision has been altered as a result of Paly administration’s unpublicized actions last summer. All students will be required to wear a green graduation gown. Though it is too late to change the administration’s new actions for the Class of 2016, The Campanile calls for a change for the future graduating classes.

Traditionally, male graduates would wear green gowns while female graduates would wear white ones. This has since been changed, with the administration citing inclusivity as the main reason for their actions.

“I think we see ourselves as a kind of progressive and inclusive campus,” principal Kim Diorio said.

A few parents had reached out to Diorio and the rest of the administration, stating that their children felt that they were being forced to identify with one gender when choosing the color for their graduation gown. Since it is the administration’s duty to make sure all students feel comfortable, action was required on admin’s part.

In addition, others argue that this sort of gender separation is a concept of the past and should be changed as we become a more progressive society.

“We had a couple community members, students, parents, contact us about the old practice,” student activities director Matt Hall said. “I mean, it’s been around since the ’20s. It’s a bit of an anachronism, ‘boys wear this and girls wear that,’ ‘boys wear blue and girls wear pink,’ and things like that.”

Hall continued on, saying that the decision concerning the color of gowns was an easy one to make, and that no backlash was envisioned when the change was implemented during the summer.

“When admin talked about it, it was pretty much unanimous,” Hall said. “We basically checked in with who we saw as the main stakeholders and shot callers, and we couldn’t find a person who was against it.”

While The Campanile acknowledges the need to promote inclusivity, we also strongly believe that both green and white caps and gowns should be offered in order to preserve the tradition of Paly pride. We suggest that students be randomly assigned to wear both green and white gowns, thus preserving our school’s colors, but not assigning students to identify as a certain gender. While it is too late to make this change happen for the 2015-16 year, Diorio believes that this could be a viable option for upcoming years.

The Campanile also wishes to express concern over how the administration went about changing the gown policy. The graduating Class of 2016 was only notified this fall about the changes made over the summer that would directly affect their entire student body during their graduation ceremony. The administration is aware of this miscommunication, yet maintains that this is a lone error and will not be repeated in future years at Paly.

“The last thing I want is for the senior class to be upset over this, and I feel terrible,” Diorio said. “At the same time, I still feel like it’s the right thing to do for our school to support this policy and support our students so that it is inclusive of everyone.”

In conclusion, The Campanile acknowledges the tight position that the administration was put in, but still implores the administration to minimize communication errors with the student body so as not to further drive an even larger wedge between Paly’s student body and administration.

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