TUSD to make changes to graduation policy for cultural, religious adornments

TUSD to make changes to graduation policy for cultural, religious adornments
(Egan, Melissa)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Graduation Day may now have a little more meaning for seniors in Tucson.

The Tucson Unified School District’s Governing Board approved a policy change to what students can wear when they walk across the stage Tuesday evening.

The change comes after strong push for Native American students and the community in hopes of wearing their regalia, traditional clothing and ornaments worn for sacred events. Many people wearing the regalia addressed the board Tuesday.

“By allowing them to wear this, you are allowing them to be who they are. You are allowing for their ancestors to see them, they are graduating high school. They’ve come across this milestone that a lot of our native youth never get to," one supporter told board members.

The current ‘Graduation Exercises Policy’ states students must wear the designated cap and gown, with no other adornments. If students have earned honor cords by reaching a level of achievement in recognized school organizations may wear them during the commencement ceremony with their caps and gowns.

Due to time, or lack there of, the board approved the right for the superintendent, or another designee, to approve exceptions for students set to walk across the stage for winter graduation on Thursday, December 20.

The board voted to rewrite the graduation policy for cultural and/or religious exceptions, which will need to go through a public approval process before officially being approved.

The wording proposed during Tuesday’s meeting read:

“The Superintendent or Designee is authorized to grant exceptions to the provisions of the policy regarding the cap and gown requirement and restrictions on other adornments to accommodate the religious and or cultural needs of an individual student.”

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