One high school in Texas has decided not to allow its students to wear their National Honor Society ribbons during their graduation ceremony in an attempt to avoid hurt feelings.
Members of the National Honor Society, a club students join based on academics, volunteerism, and leadership, had previously worn an NHS emblem on their graduation robes in recognition of their academic accomplishments and other hard work while in school.
A sponsor for NHS informed a parent that administrators at Plano Senior High School did not want to single any students out, and instead wants everyone at the school to feel included, writes James Wilkinson for The Daily Mail. While students who earn a GPA of at least 3.6 can wear a white satin stole, no one is allowed to include any regalia pertaining to a club or organization, which includes NHS stoles.
"They deserve it," one parent told WFAA.com. "They worked so hard for it. If you choose not to work that hard, then that's OK. I wasn't an NHS kid. I didn't wear the NHS stole when I graduated. But friends of mine did, and I was OK!"
Some students at the school have discussed either taking up a petition or talking to the principal in order to change the minds of school administrators, saying that students at neighboring schools are allowed to wear their white satin stoles. Many students say the decision is unfair.
"I've worked hard for this, and I should be able to show my honors," senior Akeas Syed told KRLD. "We're not just celebrating the achievement of graduating high school. We're celebrating all the achievements that have happened along the way and gotten us here."
The school has since released a statement on the controversy, saying that although many students at the school are members of the National Honor Society, the school has decided not to participate in the tradition. The practice has been put into question by students twice in the history of the school. The first time was in 2004, and then again in 2008 or 2009. During both occasions, the tradition of not including regalia for school clubs, honor societies, leadership roles or other such activities had been explained to the students. The last time, class officers and student congress had been offered the chance to change the practice. However, student leaders decided to uphold the tradition.
School officials added that although individual students would not be recognized for their achievements during the graduation ceremony, the school would be posting these achievements on the school's website. However, names will not be included, writes Lana Shadwick for Breitbart. Already listed on the website include "2 National Merit Semifinalists in 2014," "16 Plano Wildcats have attended the US Military Academy at West Point," and "7 national champions at Princeton and Harvard speech tournaments."
While the decision will stand for this year, the district is willing to look into the matter further next year if the students push the issue.