Letter-Graduation rules biased

Published 6:53 pm Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

Individual diversity is under assault at Isle of Wight County Schools graduations. 

Under a current administrative policy, passed late in the 2022-23 school year, academic organizations are favored for recognition at graduation through the apparel of stoles and cords over other, equally legitimate ones due to their educational nature. Such biases violate the IWCS mission and vision: “[t]o enhance and expand on each child’s unique gifts and talents.”

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Outright favoritism to clubs that only demand academic achievements does not satisfy this statement; in fact, this policy essentially confirms the inferiority of community-aligned clubs despite excelling in harnessing more diversity than academics alone.

This year, student government representatives at Smithfield High School met with a county administrator with hopes of amending the issue. These efforts were met with approval to create a multifaceted rubric establishing a pathway for equal recognition of legitimate community-driven organizations. 

However, after much dedication to this endeavor, it was decided that community service would be represented by one cord rather than the array of organizational cords, contrary to their academic counterparts, violating the intent of the complaint. However, it was deemed that only one of these community-driven organizations was eligible to wear independent stoles of recognition at graduation, another blatant example of outright favoritism.

The shift to regression took a matter of two weeks. After the rubric proposal was met with approval by the administrator, a “compromise” was made, with no dissenting party present in the decision, causing hours of student dedication to be neutralized with no remains, an ironic end to an initiative that aimed at stopping this very issue. 

Those who choose to pour their hearts into organizations like the Student Council, Green Club, band and our Best Buddies program (to name a few) are being forgotten and are losing the satisfaction of graduation. IWCS is watching this happen, and finding ways to filibuster this issue. 

Help our district recognize the importance of community by emailing your school board representatives and superintendent, to reconcile an unjust, unresolved initiative. 


Zachary Myers

Senior Class vice president

Smithfield High School