Decorated graduation caps allow expression

Jaylynn Struth, Editor

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When a senior’s name is called at graduation, they have a short moment to walk across that stage and then it’s all over. The past four years full of memories, lessons, successes, hard work, and dedication is gone within ten seconds. Seniors last moments should be memorable, and they should be allowed to show off their achievements. Decorated caps give students a chance to show off who they are and how they have developed into that person over the years. Seniors should be allowed to decorate their caps at their graduation.

Including MHS, many schools have been denying seniors the right to decorate their caps. One reason being that everyone should look the same and be “unified”. Seniors already have to wear the same colored red or white graduation robe; they should be allowed some sort of individuality. Students being able to show off their individuality and achievements allows each senior to feel like more than just another graduate. It gives each student the chance to stand out and be themselves.

Decorating caps allows students to showcase their achievements. Some students like to decorate their caps with things for their future plans, like their college, major, or trade in which they are pursuing. This allows students to showcase their excitement and pride for their plans after graduation. These caps allow peers, parents, teachers, to see what the student has accomplished and see their commitment to their plan after high school.

Seniors have to purchase their own cap and gown, so why shouldn’t they be able to express themselves on it? Having decorated caps also allows students to express themselves. Students can decorate caps with inspirations, hobbies, or interests, allowing students to show a more detailed insight into who they are as an individual. Students should be able to use this right to express themselves freely, as long as it meets the dress code.

Denying students the right to decorate their caps violates the First Amendment freedom of speech. In the Tinker vs. Des Moines Independent Community Schools (1969) case on dress code, as long as the student expression doesn’t “cause substantial disruption or material interference with school activities or would invade the rights of others,” it should be allowed. If administration is worried about inappropriate décor that would cause a disruption, those who wish to decorate could get the cap approved, just like we do with flyers.

Graduation is the finale. After seniors walk across the stage, high school is over and take the next step in life. This day should be one students can remember, so they should be allowed to be able to show off their achievements and individuality with decorated caps.

 

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