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Jordan District will temporarily allow leis, other cultural attire, at graduation

May 25, 2022, 9:24 AM

jordan district lei...

Kaili Tonga, 17, holds still while his mother Leilani places a lei around his neck at his graduation luau held at Bountiful's LDS Seventh Ward. Photo credit: Kira Horvath

SALT LAKE CITY — The Jordan School District Board voted Tuesday night to allow high school graduates to wear leis and other symbols of family and culture.

Before the vote to change its long-standing policy, the Board of Education heard from a crowd of patrons who felt students should be allowed to wear the symbols that show a family’s pride in their accomplishments.

“Why can’t we include those symbols of where we come from? To show honor to ourselves and to our culture and heritage,” one student told the board.

Another student told KSL-TV she wants to wear a kaffiya, a patterned scarf that is part of her Arab heritage.

“For those people who think this is going to be a ‘culture fest’ when it comes to graduation, we’re asking for at least just one thing to represent our ancestors and family,” said Fatima Al-Seady. 

KSL TV reports that the board wants to take up the decision again next year before it makes a final policy decision.

The Utah legislature passed a law this year specifically for Indigenous students, allowing them to wear their cultural regalia at graduation. 

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Jordan District will temporarily allow leis, other cultural attire, at graduation