Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Modifying the Graduation Cap And Gown

Should a Native American student be allowed, in the name of religion, to attach an eagle feather to his graduation cap?
Denied the right to attach an eagle feather to his graduation cap, a Native American student is suing his California school district. Christian Titman, 18, a member of the Pit River Tribe, claimed his rights to freedom of religion and expression are at stake. He will participate in the Clovis High School ceremony on Thursday.

The tribe considers eagle feathers sacred and symbolic of a significant accomplishment, said his lawyer.
I side with the school district on this one.  The student's religion doesn't mandate the wear of the feather; he wants to wear it to set himself apart--which is exactly the opposite purpose of the cap and gown. 


maxutils said...

On a purely legal basis, I agree with you. It's not like the head scarf case that was just decided in SCOTUS. But … grauation is for the kids. i don't see any reason why the school should prevent anyone from modifying the cap or gown, provided that it is not obscene nor disruptive. Seriously … why fight this? Let the kid have a feather in his cap. Life will continue.

Darren said...

It's the *school's* ceremony, and the kids can participate if they want to. Should they be able to modify their athletic team uniforms, too?

Decorum should also be insisted upon. No vuvuzelas and the like; save that kind of stuff, *and* the feather, for your own party after the ceremony.

maxutils said...

The difference for team uniforms, of course, is that they serve a purpose in a competition by making the players distinguishable, and in most sports there are safety concerns, as well. For graduation, we can disagree, but I would draw the line at something which was disrupive … which a vuvuzela (is that really how it's spelled?) would be. Wearing a Lei, or beads, or sunglasses, or a feather is not. While it's true that the school runs the event … who benefits more from it? Student, or institution?

PeggyU said...

A feather has to be the least of his worries. How do you survive high school with a surname like that one?