- Associated Press - Saturday, January 14, 2017

DOVER, N.H. (AP) - A New Hampshire high school has decided to break with tradition and have all graduates wear a gender-neutral single color in June, but an online petition wants to give students a chance to choose.

For years, females graduating from Dover High School have worn white and males have worn green. In an email to parents, Principal Peter Driscoll said the theme of the change is to emphasize unity among graduates, Foster’s Daily Democrat reported (https://bit.ly/2jFwNZs).

He said the change is to ensure that transgender or gender nonconforming students don’t have to choose which is the “best” color for them and eliminates anxiety.

A petition on change.org protesting the gender-neutral robes was started last week. It’s not clear who wrote it. The petition says it was started by Dover High School seniors. It says, “we believe it would be fair to give the students who are undecided with which gown color appropriately fits them best the option to decide the color of their gown on graduation day.”

Driscoll acknowledged that the break from tradition would not be popular throughout the community.

“There will be students and adults (parents and faculty) who do not agree with this change,” he wrote in the email. “This change will require educating our community about the creation of an environment that focuses on unity, equality, inclusion, and celebration of all students.”

A similar graduation gown debate broke out in Portsmouth last year when the district announced it would be switching to gender-neutral gowns.

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