Two young men from The Dalles will graduate with their The Dalles High School classmates right on schedule next month. Unfortunately, they won’t be allowed to wear their U.S. Marine Corps uniforms that day instead of traditional robes.
Their mothers are upset about the school’s decision.
One mom hopes the Legislature will step in and require districts around the state to let future students who have completed basic training wear their uniforms at graduation.
This is a fight that needn’t happen. It shouldn’t take a state law to let students wear their uniforms.
In Oregon local districts decide such things for themselves, and some, perhaps all, enforce graduation dress standards strictly.
Some bar leis and the like because not all students can afford them. They do not want graduation to become a time when some kids show off their economic status with displays not all kids can afford.
Some bar military uniforms, as is the case in The Dalles. Bend-La Pine Schools, by contrast, has no problem with allowing graduates who are in the military to wear their uniforms.
The high school principal in The Dalles says the no-uniforms policy is designed to ensure that focus is on the entire group. That said, students of Polynesian and Native American heritage get at least a partial pass from the graduation dress code in The Dalles. Those of Polynesian descent may wear family leis, while Native American students may wear a single symbol of cultural heritage that’s been approved by the local education service district.
Why not a military uniform? Honoring military service deserves the same sort of treatment.
Making students, parents and everyone else happy at graduation isn’t easy. Strict, unthinking adherence to such things as dress code, doesn’t make it easier.