New Rochelle High and the Gender Debate at Graduation

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new rochelle graduation robes, gender

Karen Hessel contributed to this article

Should Seniors graduating from New Rochelle High School change tradition and have all students wear purple gowns so that transgender students do not have to pick a gender?

Girls have historically worn white gowns, and boys purple gowns.

Parents there say the issue came up when a girl that identifies as a boy spoke to NRHS Principal Reginald Richardson.  Students in support of the change spoke to the Board of Education at a subsequent meeting.  The Principal then announced the change as of 2017, in a letter to parents in March:

In addition to expressing our solidarity, a single color will make clear that all of our graduates are equal members of the graduating class, and help ensure that each feels supported and comfortable at their graduation. The greatest strength of New Rochelle as a community is the diversity that drives our success, and that each of us as individuals contributes to that community. With diversity comes a heightened responsibility to provide an environment that is safe for people from all backgrounds, beliefs, orientations, and identities.

In addition to expressing our solidarity, a single color will make clear that all of our graduates are equal members of the graduating class, and help ensure that each feels supported and comfortable at their graduation. The greatest strength of New Rochelle as a community is the diversity that drives our success, and that each of us as individuals contributes to that community. With diversity comes a heightened responsibility to provide an environment that is safe for people from all backgrounds, beliefs, orientations, and identities.

At the same time another group is fighting to keep the tradition.  Local firefighter Mark McLean writes,

“This decision sends the wrong message to our young people. The message that  gender distinction is an out of date idea. That somehow it is wrong and oppressive is at best incredible, and at worst it is divisive and highly offensive. The fact that the principal of the high school and the BOE, with this decision to destroy the long standing graduation tradition of gender specific robes, have cosigned this radical ideology is an outrage.”

He gave remarks at a Board of Education meeting Webster school last week, saying the community never had a say in the matter.

With more than 3,300 students, New Rochelle High School is quite large and, with 60 countries represented, is also considered to be one of the most diverse schools in the country.

A student has set up a change.org page in support of keeping the tradition of two color gowns.  https://www.change.org/p/saving-our-purple-and-white-graduation-tradition

What do you think?

 

 

 

 

 

7 thoughts on “New Rochelle High and the Gender Debate at Graduation

  1. people are people men are men and women are women . there is no diference men should use mens bathroom women should use a womens bathroom when you are born a gender keep that gender.

  2. In a rapidly changing world, tradition matters. This is a solution in search of a problem. The New Rochelle graduation tradition of purple and white is a noble one. There is absolutely no reason to sacrifice a 100 year tradition on the altar of political correctness. Stand up and save our purple and white.

  3. 41% of youth who identify as transgender make a suicide attempt. That’s a huge number. These are kids in our very own communities who are often struggling with feeling marginalized, ashamed and depressed on top of dealing with all the challenges of being an adolescent. We are living in a different world from the one we grew up in where gender is no longer defined by many people in strictly binary terms. If it were your kid who was struggling in this way, would you still be so quick to dismiss the issue? Given what these kids face in their current lives and what they are going to be dealing with for years to come, how hard is it really for any of us to show a little sensitivity and compassion?

    • Just maybe instead of going along with whatever the young Kids think maybe parents should get them help Now before they get any older and try suicide, and maybe that will bring down the number .

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