Colors for inclusion

Administration decides to make all caps and gowns red


Photo Contributed by The Anchor

Students sit during the 2021 graduation ceremony. All students will wear red gowns at this years graduation.

Due to recent changes in the dress code for SHS graduation, the end-of-the-year ceremony won’t look quite the same as previous years. In the past, male students wore red caps and gowns while female students wore white.
In an effort to be more inclusive to all students and to make the process of preparing for graduation run smoother, all SHS seniors will now be wearing red caps and gowns to graduation.
“It’s much easier just to have one color,” Principal Brian Knight said. “I think the red looks better when they’re out there.”
Knight believes there are a few reasons as to why the colors have changed: inclusivity of students, appearance and general miscommunication all came into play when making the decision.
Knight said it’s also easier having one color when ordering all the gowns. There have been issues in the past with students ordering the wrong color or forgetting to order at all. Then, they are stuck with whatever is left.
For example, Knight mentioned that several students had ordered too late or not at all, so administrators gave them whatever gown was available. This made it to where students may not have worn the assigned color gown that they should’ve.
Knight also likes the idea of having all students wearing red caps and gowns because of how the white ones looked.
The thin material of the white gowns made it to where anyone looking could see any color or pattern beneath it. Because of this, the gowns didn’t appear to be the crisp white that people had imagined.
“The way the material is, (the white gowns) don’t look as nice because they’re kind of sheer and see-through,” Knight said.
Having one uniform color for all students is also beneficial to those who may not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth.
“Another reason is they’re trying to be respectful to some of our transgender students,” Knight said. “Like what color they pick or what color they are required to wear type things.”
Knight said he ultimately made the decision for different caps and gowns. However, he and other teachers at SHS have met a few times over the course of this year to discuss needs of LGBTQ+ students. At these meetings it was decided that the color of gowns would be taken into consideration.
These faculty members decided on all red gowns because they felt it would be best for all students.
“We have a meeting once a month to ensure that we are using best practices to support the LGBTQ+ population at our school,” social worker Jorie DePalma said. “When you read about best practices, one of the things that it says you can do is to go to all one color caps and gowns.”
With all seniors wearing the same color for graduation, Knight is hoping to alleviate confusion that comes from having different colors.
With the change in colors, there are mixed opinions amongst the student body.
Senior Thang Chin is quite welcome to the change. He agrees that having one color for all students is more respectful to students who may not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth.
“I’m glad they did it honestly,” Chin said. “It removes a lot of annoyance out of the whole process.”