Dallas Grads Offered Choice On Gown Color

April 5, 2019

Dallas High School graduates can now wear Columbia blue or dark blue caps and gowns.

After the school board in January approved a contract to buy midnight blue caps and gowns for all graduates, seniors objected with many wanting to keep the tradition of girls in Columbia blue gowns and boys in dark blue gowns.

“As a result of discussions and input from all stakeholders, we met with seniors Wednesday and offered two color gown options, as we’ve had in the past, with students being able to select either color individually,” Superintendent Thomas Duffy said in a released statement.

Boys and girls will now sit together during the graduation ceremony, instead of being separated by color.

“We’re happy with just getting our colors back,” senior Sydney Strickland said. “It’s definitely a victory for the senior class and the parents. We are happy we got a voice”

After learning about the planned change to one gown color three weeks ago, Strickland started collecting signatures on a petition to keep the traditional colors. More than half of the senior class — 215 students — signed the petition, and nine of every 10 seniors opposed the change in a survey conducted by the high school.

“Our graduation ceremony will be arranged alphabetically and planned in a way that all students can enjoy the 90 minute program,” Duffy added.


The school board will not vote to amend the contract to buy caps and gowns because the cost won’t change, and the contract amendment will not be on the agenda for Monday’s school board meeting, district Solicitor Vito DeLuca said.

According to the five-year contract approved in January with Herff Jones Inc., the school district agreed to “a male & female gown of the custom design utilizing Gabardine midnight blue gown w/ sky blue braid on the yoke.”

The district will pay $33.95 per unit this year. The gowns are rentals, and students keep the cap and tassel. The district has been buying caps and gowns from Herff Jones for at least 10 years, said Bob Manganello, a local sales representative for Herff Jones.

Some high schools across the nation have been changing to gender-neutral caps and gowns in recent years. The change sometimes is about being more inclusive and sensitive to nonconforming gender students who may be offended by wearing a color-coordinated identifier.

The planned change at Dallas was not the result of a complaint and came about because the previous contract expired, Duffy said last week.

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