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OPINION: Decorated caps are free expression, not vandalism

A student wears a cap with a decorated motarboard. (Courtesy: Creative Commons).

By Willa Moffatt,
BlueDevilHUB.com Editor-in-Chief–

Friday evening, the Davis High class of 2017 will walk across the stage set out of the stadium turf and receive a handshake and their diploma for all their friends and family to see. What will not be seen, however, are decorated graduation caps.

The DHS administration has maintained that “No decorated mortarboards will be allowed into the graduation ceremony. This decision is a step to maintain a formal tone to the celebration,” according to the school’s website. However, this rule is denying the senior class their final chance to express their individual personalities at the end of their high school career.

In other school districts where decorating is allowed, many students adorn their caps with colorful artistry that reveals something about their future plans, or some aspect of their personality. Many students include the name and symbol of the college they will attend, or an inspirational message.

When DHS students receive their caps and gowns before the ceremony, they are informed that both items are the school’s property until the ceremony has concluded, where they then become the property of the individual students. This allows the school to claim vandalism of school property if a senior was to decorate their cap.

This arbitrary passing of ownership prevents the senior class from attempting to differentiate themselves from the crowd of about 600 other students. Though the school claims that this uniformity is important to upholding the formal tone of the event, it only works to prevent students from using a small way of expressing their exuberance at graduation.

Some may be concerned that the decorated caps could contain profanity or inappropriate images. A simple fix to this issue is to check the caps of the students as they line up for the ceremony, and subsequently remove any offending artistry.

Though this issue may not be the most pressing, the principle of free expression remains a key part of the high school experience. Let us decorate our caps for our last experience at DHS.

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