ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Albuquerque Public Schools’ graduation dress code has gotten a makeover. District officials say the changes are about respecting the culture and individuality of students.
Joseph Escobedo, chief equity and engagement officer with APS, said stoles handed out by four groups – the Indian Education Department, Black Student Unions, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán, and the Gay Straight Alliance – will be allowed at graduation this year. The district is also encouraging students to wear cultural dress under their robes.
“Academics are important, but each student brings a variety of identities to get to the point of graduation,” Escobedo said.
Escobedo told KRQE News 13 a survey found some schools were not letting graduates wear honor cords and stoles from cultural groups, so they made the district-wide policy for four groups they know are active at most high schools.
“We want to make sure that yes, it is an academic ceremony, but we want to honor the cultural independence of each student and honor their individual identity,” Escobedo said.
Students KRQE News 13 spoke with said they were in favor of the changes.
“It’s nice to have that recognition when you graduate to wear something that shows all the hard work you’ve put in when you were in high school,” a junior at West Mesa High School said.
Escobedo said the district will review the changes in graduation dress and how it worked next year, and evaluate stoles from other student groups.