MASSENA — Massena Central School officials are still reviewing the district’s dress code policy for graduation after a student wrapped himself in a Puerto Rican flag while accepting his diploma in June.
“We have several policies that we’ll be running by you this evening,” Paul Haggett told board of education members Thursday night. Mr. Haggett, the board vice president, is chair of the district’s Policy Committee.
Among them was the policy concerning graduation. The current district policy regarding the student dress code says, “All students participating in the commencement ceremony shall be dressed in the standard cap and gown; however, Native American students may have a choice of wearing either the standard cap and gown or their ‘traditional native Ceremonial Dress’ upon approval by the building principal.”
“(Superintendent Patrick Brady) is in discussions with some of the stakeholders in the school, administration and teachers and we are expecting a recommendation on that in November,” Mr. Haggett said.
During a previous meeting, board member Kevin Perretta had also questioned whether some graduation cords being distributed follow the current policy, which states they are “representing honors which have been bestowed upon them.”
During this year’s graduation ceremony, some students wore cords in recognition of their participation in some activities like Link Crew and Drama Club. Mr. Perretta had suggested that cords should mark academic achievement, not merely participation in a laudable activity.
The Policy Committee will meet again at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
Mr. Haggett said the school board was also beginning an investigation into using a therapy dog at the high school and crafting a policy to govern the use of the animal. The high school’s Counseling Department had asked the board to consider the introduction of the therapy dog, and a staff member would take all responsibility for the new dog that would be accessible to high school students.
“We had a request from one of our counselors at the high school,” as well as others, Mr. Brady said. “I went to the Policy Committee and said, ‘Is this a topic you want to discuss?’ They said, ‘We’re open to discussion on that.’ At this meeting coming up next week, they’ll come in and talk to the Policy Committee about it. Then we’ll see where it goes from there.”