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Can adorn South Tama mortarboards for grads

School Board Approves on 3-1 Vote

April 13, 2019
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Seniors at South Tama High School will have the option to add decor to the flat top of their mortar boards- graduations caps - come their special day. The South Tama School Board voted 3-1 Monday night, April 8, to approve the proposal from High School Principal Roy Frakes.

He told board members Native American students had been granted permission to add bead work to their caps a couple of years ago. Since then he said other students have come forth to request the opportunity to decorate their caps.

South Tama High School graduation is on Sunday, May 19. To the surprise of some persons present for the board meeting students have plenty of time to do the decorating- they buy their own cap and gowns and have already been in their possession for about a month.

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"We try to provide fairness across the board to everyone," Frakes said in making the recommendation.

The permission comes with a set of strict rules which includes a review of the graduating line up just before the ceremony begins assure the caps conform. Frakes said the inspection of the caps would be conducted by other STC staff members and himself.

He noted other school districts have been allowing the cap decorations.

Board President Penny Tyynismaa was the lone no vote.

She maintained the customary procedure of an appeal by a student would be to have a hearing before the school board. Because of the timing of such a request, it would not be reasonable to hold a board meeting she said.

Voting to allow the amendment to the current student handbook to allow for decorating the caps were board members Many Lekin, Jackie Dvorak and Ron Houghton. Member Alan Kline was absent.

The rules governing the decorations will be sent home to parents and require a signature prior to graduation.

Rules must be followed for decorating graduation caps and "failure to follow these rules will result in the removal of the cap at the ceremony." In turn, students "without a cap and gown are not allowed to participate in the ceremony."

The rules include a cap:

cannot contain any advertisement, symbols, abbreviations, initials, words, slogans, patches or pictures that: refer to drugs or controlled substances, tobacco, alcohol, weapons or be of a sexual nature.

denote an affiliation with gangs or which advocate drug use, violence, illegal activity or disruptive behavior which is detrimental to the safety and welfare of any other students.

be obscene, profane, vulgar or lewd.

include numbers other than the graduation year.

threaten the safety and welfare of any person.

only the flat top area of the mortar board may be decorated. There may be nothing hanging down from any sides of the cap.

graduation caps will be reviewed and approved in advance of the ceremony.

Listed as appropriate were these suggestions:

thank a parent, grandparent, teacher, friend

recognize the university the student will be attending

their graduation year

the branch of the military they will be joining

their home country's flag



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