Rolesville students angry about not being allowed to wear cords at graduation

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Saturday, March 9, 2019
Graduation policy angers Rolesville students
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WCPSS is receiving backlash for policiies involving graduation garb.

ROLESVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Some Rolesville High School students are feeling cheated after dedicating their time after-school activities and spending money on joining clubs.

The school is not allowing students to wear their cords for the graduation ceremony.

There is a petition circulating and hundreds of people are offering support.

One person writes, "This is unacceptable. The administration encourages the students each year to join various clubs stating how important they are to the student body, the community and the development of the student."

Senior Stephan Pannell is disappointed and plans on signing the petition.

"There's posters and everything around the school. It's a pretty big thing," he said.

"I really want to walk across the stage in my cords, show how hard I've worked and it's taken away from me like that," said student Ashley Kelly.

She is active in not one, but two honor societies. Kelly is a member of National Achievers, which is sponsored by the Urban League and for minority students. She is also in the Tri-M Music Honor Society.

Kelly said the clubs add to the texture and fabric of who she is. She is earning her cords, but won't be able to take them across the finish line.

"I volunteer," she said. "It kind of sucks, because not many people do that kind of stuff."

Rolesville High School is adopting a new way of honoring seniors. It's called the Latin System and falls in line with what most other Wake County schools are doing.

The district is getting rid of valedictorians.

Instead, students with high GPAs will get stoles and they can wear those at the graduation ceremony. Students with cords can wear them at award ceremonies, just not the actual graduation.

Students received a text message that the administration has heard concerns.

Rolesville High School Principal Dhedra Lassiter released the following statement:

I want senior parents and students to know that I heard from a couple of parents and students earlier this week about the changes to the wearing of cords for the senior awards ceremony and graduation. I notified these people that I would share these concerns with the graduation committee. I have done this as promised. The assistant principal in charge of the graduation committee plans to meet with the committee and me on the matter next week. Additionally, I was notified of the petition today and appreciate your concerns.. Please allow us time to review and respond. More to come...

A Graduation Committee will be meeting next week to reconsider.