January 16, 2018

Hats off to inclusion

Principal Dr. Ben Dale held an assembly on Dec. 6 in order to propose the idea of male and female students both wearing the same color cap and gown for their graduation. White was officially selected as the universal cap and gown color for the students. (Photo courtesy of Sara James).

Kyra Williams

News Editor

Mira Costa Principal Dr. Ben Dale announced during a seniors-only assembly on Dec. 6 that all seniors will wear the same color cap and gown for their graduation in the spring, as opposed to the separate colors for boys and girls as it has been in previous years.

The administration notified teachers of the meeting on Dec. 1, but the topic was not disclosed. Vice Principal Deborah Hofreiter made an announcement via loudspeaker informing all seniors to report to the auditorium on the morning of Dec. 6.

“The issue came up when we were thinking about students whose gender identification is more than just either green or gold,” Dale said. “We want to be able to support all students and having one color cap and gown is an easy way to do so.”

Dale started the assembly by explaining why he felt it was important to change the graduation cap and gowns to one color for the entire class, Associated Student Body Vice President and senior Keeli Hartley said.  According to Dale, the change was made in order to promote inclusion for all students, especially those who do not identify with a specific gender or who are transitioning their genders.

“This was extremely important for our step forward as a school and community that supports everyone, regardless of gender or how they wish to identify themselves at something like graduation,” Gay Straight Alliance club President and senior Hunter Cross said.

Members of the senior class voted on a ballot, and white won with roughly 170 votes out of about 350 students.  In graduation ceremonies in the past, male students wore green caps and gowns, and girls wore gold caps and gowns. It is still not certain if white will be the color for the following years after the 2018 graduation, Dale said.

“Having green for boys and gold for girls has an unintended gender bias and it has an unintended gender identification bias,” Dale said.

Students who had concerns or ideas regarding this issue were invited to talk to Dale in order to share their opinions, Hartley said.

“I personally think that switching the cap and gowns to one color is a great idea,” Hartley said. “I think it’s a much more inclusive and progressive way to go about commencement.”

According to Dale, switching caps and gowns to one color is a common theme that many schools  are implementing. Dale discussed how the administration is doing everything in their power to make Costa a more inclusive and supportive school for all its students.

“More schools are going to one color [cap and gowns] for various reasons, but their reasons may be different than ours,” Dale said. “We want to be the school for everybody.”

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