Some Students Protest New Graduation Rules

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The fake dog dung on top of graduation caps is out. The same goes for the fake fur in gowns.

Lyon County school officials are trying to restore dignity to upcoming high school graduation ceremonies.

Superintendent Nat Lommori sent a letter home to all seniors, advising them of a new rule forbidding decorations on their caps and gowns.

"Some decorating has occurred in the past and it has seemed to get out of hand in the past years," Lommori told the Nevada Appeal. "There are only a few occasions in anybody's life that are so formal. We're trying to keep it very traditional."

But some seniors are urging administrators to lighten up and allow students to have fun.

"It's just been a tradition at our high school," Dayton High School senior Dustin Escalante said. "It helps us express our individuality. We've been taught for the last 13 years to be ourselves."

In the past, seniors have taken such steps as cutting gowns into shorts, displaying trophies on caps and writing the number of their football jersies on their backs.

Some students also have gone as far as fastening fake dog dung on caps and lining robes with fake fur.

"It would be saddening to me if we couldn't do it," Escalante said. "We think we should be able to do it tastefully."

But Lommori said there was no way to draw a clear line between tasteful and tacky.

"If you're going to do things like that, why even buy caps and gowns?" he asked. "Why not just come in regular clothes?"

Escalante said students would continue their effort to overturn the new rule. He was among a group of 10 students who protested the rule at last week's school board meeting.