DOVER-FOXCROFT – When it comes to walking across the stage to receive a diploma, Foxcroft Academy has had the same tradition for years to get both school colors represented.
For decades, the graduating boys have worn burgundy gowns while the graduating girls wore white ones.
But for this graduating class, school administrators decided to change things up.
“We have an excellent Civil Rights Team who presented to the administration and trustees the importance of de-gendering the ceremonies so it can be very accepting to everyone, so we made the decision to go all burgundy,” Head of School Arnold Shorey said.
The decision was not met with open arms by many students and alumni, who disagreed to the point that a student from the academy created an online petition to oppose the decision.
“Many seniors are very disappointed and upset with this uncalled for decision,” the petition read. “On graduation day it is very important to us to have different colored gowns as we walk, which has been a tradition for years.”
Created on Monday, the petition spread through the community like wildfire and as of Thursday, more than 1,400 people had signed it.
The response prompted some reactive measures by the academy.
“The seniors voiced an opinion that they’d like to be listened to, so we had a meeting,” Shorey said. “I met with them as a class and so what we decided is we will allow the seniors to choose between two choices, either to go all burgundy or they will have their own choices of robes.”
The other change the academy plans for the graduation ceremony is to line students up in alphabetical order instead of by gender.