Rules regarding honors regalia worn at one Walton County high school graduation ceremony have some people talking.
Walton County High School Principal Janet Currid said students will be allowed to wear any pins, cords, or stoles earned through academic clubs like Spanish Honor Society and other organizations during the baccalaureate and other school ceremonies, but not during the graduation ceremony on Monday night.
"For graduation purposes on graduation day, for uniformity and to preserve the dignity of the ceremony itself, we only allow our graduating seniors to wear honor stoles," Currid said. "Caps, gowns, and their honor stoles, that is all that they wear."
Currid said the decision was made last year by the high school's graduation committee.
"Our students are well aware of it," Currid said. "It's a discussion that we've had all year long."
This decision angered some who argued on a Facebook post by a Walton parent that if a student earns a cord, they should be allowed to wear the cord.
Jolene Clenney, who made the Facebook post, said she had friends with children graduating Monday.
"They showed school pride in their activities and represented Walton very well," Clenney said in the post. "All this to be told they cannot wear their Honor cords during graduation. How is this fair?"
Walton County Superintendent Russell Hughes said these type of decisions are left to the schools, and each school is different.
"We could get into the hundreds of things that people would want to wear cords for," Hughes said. "But if we don't keep it to some modesty and academic driven, then we'll have people wearing their personal cords, their church group cords, all kinds of things."
He said the rules have been in the student handbook for the entire year.
"Tell those parents to call the school," Hughes said. "They'll get a good explanation of what it is."
Similar restrictions are not in place at some neighboring Okaloosa County schools. Crestview Principal Dexter Day said students are allowed to wear anything they have been awarded through the school, from club cords to sports medals and everything in between.
"We want them clanging and banging," he said.
Laurel Hill Principal Lee Martello confirmed that they have similar guidelines.
"We want to celebrate all of that," she said, referring to clubs and other activities, as well as academic and sports honors.
But at Niceville High School, they have dialed it down to honor sashes, honor society bibs, Bright Future medals, certain academic pins and athletic medals earned at the state level.
"A kid in eight or nine clubs for four years, that is going to look more like a NASCAR (car),"said Principal Charlie Marello, adding the rule has been in place for years.