MVRHS eliminates gender-based graduation gowns

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The graduating MVRHS class of 2019 will not wear different-colored gowns or stoles based on gender, in order to promote a unified vision for students.

At the school committee meeting Monday night, Principal Sara Dingledy told members that using a single-color gown to denote all the students would eliminate gender bias and support a more inclusive environment at school.

Partially a result of the anti-bias policy passed by the school, the decision to have all students wear the same gowns was thoroughly discussed at All-Island School Committee meetings, and has been a topic of conversation between students, parents, faculty, and community members, according to Dingledy.

Dingledy said the school has not yet decided what colors to make the gowns, or how to color the sashes to make them denote if a student has received honors. Normally, the sashes students wear are colored based on gender, in coordination with the color of the gown.
“We still need to figure out how to coordinate the color of the gowns with the sashes so they match,” Dingledy said.

In other news, school committee members discussed whether it would be worth it to have Chris Huntress return to the school to present his studies and plans for the new athletic field.

Huntress already gave a presentation during a public forum at the PAC, and brought his studies and plans to the facilities subcommittee as well. Committee member Roxanne Ackerman wondered whether having the recording of the facilities subcommittee meeting available on MVTV would be enough. She asked fellow committee members whether they would hope to reach another audience with an additional presentation.

Member Janet Packer said she believes it’s necessary for the public to attend a larger meeting. “I think it is just more inclusive of the whole community, and we aren’t just sliding by,” Packer said. “I am in favor of a bigger venue and just putting it out there to show everybody what it is.”

Members agreed that the presentation would be closed for public comment, and would inform the community on the next steps of the project. Member Megan Anderson said she thinks calling the presentation a public forum would “open up a can of worms.”

“We should leave this as a straightforward presentation,” Anderson said. “If we go back to the drawing board on this, we will be stuck in the weeds again.”