Chaska High School sent out an email on April 11 telling seniors, “please do not decorate or write” on their graduation caps.
In response, senior Zoe Cutler set up a petition on Memorial Day to ask that students be allowed to decorate their caps for the June 10 graduation.
“I think that as long as it’s appropriate, there’s nothing wrong with it,” Cutler said. “We’re allowed to wear whatever as long as we’re within dress code anyway. I think that it shows that we’re all unique and different, we’re all individuals with different journeys.”
Principal James Bach responded with the reasons behind the decision, which were later outlined in the school newsletter on June 1.
“This has been tradition at Chaska High School,” the newsletter message from Bach stated. “This is the last time we will come together as one class. This is a very formal ceremony, and over the years parents have expressed they would prefer seniors do not decorate their caps. Graduation serves the purpose of celebrating the collective achievements of the class.”
Cutler posted the petition in several Chaska Facebook groups. One comment on the change.org petition stated, “Freedom of speech and expression should be allowed … these caps are all they have left from graduation … let them decorate!”
In a final letter to families of senior students on June 6, Bach addressed the debate.
“Next year, I am committed to a robust engagement process with students and parents to determine if this is something our school community wants to continue moving forward,” Bach said.
“I know there are differing views of this issue, and want to make sure that everyone who wants to has the chance to be heard. Given the limited time we have left before graduation, I am not making any changes at this time.”