Column: Polarized – Graduation banned the F word

Editor’s Column

Cyrus is the Multimedia editor and a translator for Ethic News.


Graduation has been a staple for many high school seniors as it is the last event they get to participate in before leaving high school.  The tradition of graduation has been celebrated for hundreds of years, dating back to the 12th century according to the University of Canterbury.

Though the tradition has changed drastically, it is still a day of importance for many high school seniors as they get to walk down the aisle and receive their diploma, or the case in which the diploma will be inside of.  

The Redlands Unified School District has been very clear on the rules that are ingrained into the graduation ceremonies they host yearly; however, students are not the happiest about certain rules in question.  

I have been told the phrase, “Graduation is a privilege, not a right” from many teachers saying that the rules are in place for a reason, and not to question them.  However, I believe that this kind of thinking is dangerous for the student mind. 

As a student I am always told not to question what teachers say, just take notes, learn and remember for the next test.  The same process can be applied for graduation, learn the rules, remember them and practice them during graduation.  

This is the last school event for seniors and I believe there should be more freedom for seniors to express themselves. The ban on choice of cap and gown color, customizing cap  and the ban on items allowed such as flowers, leis, beach balls and balloons create a stable environment at the expense of student creativity and voice of expression. 

Some students believe these rules are unfair as well. 

Sophia Feduska, Redlands High School senior, says, “The rules against personalized caps or decorative leis, I think it’s an unnecessary power trip for the school district.”  

Another complaint students have is the restraint of clothing regarding what they can wear underneath their cap and gowns. The only attire allowed without extra permission is collared shirt, tie, dress slacks and dress shoes for males, and dressy pants suit or dress, and dress shoes for females. This incredibly limited wardrobe gives seniors no opportunity to express themselves or give them a chance to show off their culture or religion.

This wardrobe set can be difficult to acquire for certain students who can not afford such clothing.  The specific wardrobe can also feel outdated to students and can be upsetting to people who do not associate with that gender’s clothing. This attire is unnecessarily specific for clothing that will barely be seen underneath seniors’ cap and gowns.  

The rules for the RUSD graduations are way too strict for the senior class and leads to no expression of character or individuality. Everyone wears the same cap and gown, they wear the same outfit underneath the cap and gown, they walk and have the same actions with the only differentiating feature being the stoles and cords.  

It is my belief that the school district strongly needs to rethink these rules and give the senior class more freedom to show that they are different from one another.  Students should be able to customize their caps, or wear cultural or religious attire without consulting the superintendent.  This is the last event for seniors before leaving high school, and should be treated more as a celebration of the class, and less of a formality.  These students have been working for twelve years to reach the point they have, therefore graduation should be a privilege and a right.  

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