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Graduation uniforms: Let members of the military show their pride at graduation

Over in Derry, Pinkerton Academy senior Sklyar Anderson, who joined the National Guard in January, asked to wear a Guard sash over her gown. Her family says the administration refused the request. Late last week, the school relented and allowed the sash.

We do not think these policies reflect a disdain for the military. At ConVal High, the graduation committee supported the cap-and-gown policy, and some committee members have family in the military. Principal Brian Pickering said, explaining the policy, "With all due respect to the military, it's not a celebration of what's next, what's after that. This has been a procedure for a number of years at ConVal High School."

That is, graduation is a celebration of graduation, not of the life beyond. But that does not explain the cap-and-gown requirement. How does forced wardrobe uniformity celebrate the accomplishments of the last four years?

The gown mandate produces a pleasing visual. We get why schools are reluctant to make exceptions. Make one, and then the requests will flood in. Boy Scouts, athletes, black belts — everyone will want to toss the gown.

But the schools have an easy compromise here. Make a single exception for members of the U.S. military. When members of other groups complain, give them this answer: We understand your pride in your accomplishments, but there is no equivalence. Members of the military volunteer to die for this country if necessary. That sacrifice earns an exception.

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