UPDATE: Dr. Winters Retracts New GHS Gender Neutral Graduation Gown Policy, Students to Choose Their Color

ghs graduation 2015Update, Feb. 25: At GHS, headmaster Dr. Winters sent an email to seniors and their parents saying he had reversed his decision about graduation gowns. Initially the decision was for all students to wear red gowns, whereas in the past girls wore white. The school colors are red and white.

In his email, Dr. Winters said seniors will instead have their choice of whether to wear red or white, and that each gown will have an opposite color stripe on the sleeve.

“I’ve seen the gown with the stripe and it’s a nice addition,” Winters said. “The hallmark of Greenwich High School is community dedication and community building. In considering decisions about traditions, such as graduation gown color, it is important to provide students a voice in any possible changes.”


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Winters said students had been denied a voice in the decision process and that he regretted not having engaged students along the way. He signed off by vowing to respect and seek  multiple points of view, giving a nod to creating leaders through Cardinal Rules ‘freedom with responsibility. “I look forward to a celebratory graduation with students marching in their chosen gowns of red or white.”

“Recently at the high school there was a significant commotion over the possibility of there being only one gown color at graduation, but I thank Dr. Winters for valuing the input of our class and re-thinking his original decision,” said Joe Peterson, the senior class president, during the Board of Education meeting at Hamilton Avenue School Thursday night.


Original Story, Feb. 23: Students are reacting to the news that Greenwich High School is switching to a newly designed red graduation cap and gown. The news arrived as a surprise via a letter dated Feb. 22 from Diane Fox of Student activities.

In the letter, Ms. Fox states that the $40 fee for graduation 2016 includes a newly designed red, gender-neutral cap and gown, and two graduation announcements for mailing to family and friends.

A petition started by Allie Moore is circulating on Change.org for those who favor continuing the tradition of both red and white graduation gowns. The petition, as of Tuesday, has 300+ signatures, with a goal of 500.

The petition reads:

“It is tradition that the graduating class at Greenwich High School is presented their diplomas in front of a crowd of fellow students in red and white gowns. At our last Greenwich High School event we should be given a final opportunity to exercise our freedom with responsibility by expressing both of our school colors.”

Some of the comments on the petition are as follows:

I refuse to wear a red cap and gown. tradition is red and white and that’s what I intend to graduate in…a WHITE cap and gown


 

It is a tradition for both red and white to be worn at greenwich high school graduation. I’ve been looking forward to wearing white for four years, and it’s unfair that now we all are forced to wear one color. Females should wear white and males should wear red, but anyone that is uncomfortable with their assigned color should be free to choose what color they want.


 

School colors are red and white. I’m getting exhausted by all the so called political correctness in this country. This is so simplistic, red gowns and white gowns, tradition. If this is too complex for some, here’s a simple solution have some houses wear white and some wear red. How did gender get involved? THE WORLD HAS GONE MAD!!!


 The thrill of GHS graduation 2015. Credit: Leslie Yager

The thrill of GHS graduation 2015. Credit: Leslie Yager

 The thrill of GHS graduation 2015. Credit: Leslie Yager

The thrill of GHS graduation 2015. Credit: Leslie Yager

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Email news tips to Greenwich Free Press editor Leslie.Yager@GreenwichFreePress.com
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  • Maura

    I love the idea of the red cap and gowns. Traditions change. They should be honored and proud that they are starting a new tradition.

  • Karen

    Everyone wants to support LBGT kids. Transgender is about choosing your gender identity not being unisex …so who is GPS supporting with this change. Huge missed opportunity for positive community dialog!

  • Maureen

    No Maura – I disagree with you. Traditions do not change – hence traditions. Personally, I see no reason for this change. Quite simply – the colors of the GHS graduation gowns worn should continue to be school colors of red and white. Why put forth a new conflict when there are already many within GHS? I have a freshman at GHS and I am certain, were this to be the scenario in her graduation year, she would be duly upset as well.

  • Cynthia Zizzi

    It would be interesting to know who initiated the change (and signed off on the purchase order). Did this begin with Student Activities? Staff? Students? PTA? As to “gender neutral” that seems ridiculous. College graduations have students wear all the same color (many wear black) and it has nothing to do with being gender neutral. Sounds like another excuse to get points for being politically correct. Go back to the red and white (better for photos – I know as I have taken hundreds at graduations since 2010), and allow any student who wishes to wear the “other” color, to do so. As it has been, students are allowed to decorate the mortar boards (which many schools prohibit) allowing students creativity!