Vendor: Not Too Late For Dallas To Order Different Colored Gowns

March 30, 2019

Herff Jones Inc. can still provide Dallas High School with different colored gowns for boys and girls at this year’s graduation at no additional charge, a local sales representative said Friday.

The school board in January approved a contract with Herff Jones to buy midnight blue caps and gowns for all graduates. But seniors want to keep the traditional caps and gowns — girls in Columbia blue and boys in dark blue.

School officials have been talking to seniors about what gowns they prefer for graduation in June, Superintendent Thomas Duffy said. The school board’s next public meeting is April 8.

“We are accommodating. It’s up to the administration, whatever they need,” said Bob Manganello, a local sales representative for Herff Jones.

He said he hopes to get a final decision on which gowns Dallas wants in the next two weeks. According to the five-year contract with Herff Jones, 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, Manganello said. The district has been buying caps and gowns from Herff Jones for at least 10 years, Manganello said.


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.

At the West Chester School District near Philadelphia, the district decided its three high schools will make the switch in 2020 to one gender-neutral color design for caps and gowns. Critics there complain the district is caving to political correctness.

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