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Massena school board considering limits on number of groups that can wear cords, stoles at graduation


By Andy Gardner

MASSENA. Board of Education members debated whether to allow more or fewer student groups to wear cords and stoles at graduation.

They are worn around the neck to signify either participation in an academic organization or heritage. There are also stoles for students joining the military. Native American students are also allowed to wear their traditional regalia instead of the cap and gown.

Trustee Kevin Perretta thinks the school should take a more conservative approach to which cords and stoles are allowed, opining that they should exclude anything that is “not academic and can’t be proven with a GPA.”

He believes that allowing any organization to wear a cord means most students would wear them that currently don’t, like sports team captains and class officers.

“You’ve got your class president, your vice president, they’re not recognized,” Perretta said. “I’m not even remotely attempting to take away from what the kids are trying to do ... it’s just about control of the ceremony. That’s all it’s about.”

Most of the board members said they don’t see an issue with allowing students to wear whichever achievement cords they want.

“Who are we to determine what they’re proud of, and knock it? They’re just cords,” Trustee Jason Premo said.

“These kids make it to graduation. They should have freedom of expression. We shouldn’t be dictating what they can wear. It’s their day,” said Trustee David Laclair.

Board President Paul Bronchetti said he thinks it would be a mistake to tell Link Crew members they can’t wear a cord at graduation. The mentorship program pairs upper class members and incoming freshmen to aid in their transition to high school.

It may not be educational, but it’s community of the school. It’s more than football, it’s more than hockey, it’s really a leadership of the whole student body,” he said.

Trustee Loren Fountaine suggested the Policy Committee write a new policy that grandfathers in the existing cords, and then adds a layer of approval. It would require both Superintendent Pat Brady and high school Principal Sarah Boyce to both sign off on new cords or stoles.

Boyce added that she is not getting a lot of requests from student groups who want to wear a new cord at graduation.


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