Graduation cap policy causes confusion

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The Pierre School District only allows Native American students to decorate their caps to honor their tribes.

But, some students didn't know that was the policy, and it caused some confusion.

Roughly 25% of the students enrolled in the Pierre School District are Native American.

"There's a lot of different things we do to honor our Native American Students and their achievements," said Pierre District Superintendent Dr. Kelly Glodt.

One of those things the district has always taken pride in is allowing the Native American graduates to decorate their caps for the ceremony.

"We have allowed and even encouraged our Native American students to wear the eagle feathers or plumage or beads," said Dr. Glodt.

Former South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard passed a law allowing Native American students to honor their tribes by decorating their caps, but the Pierre School District has been doing it for much longer.

"So when it did become a law, we just kind of shrugged it off and thought, 'well we've already been doing that," said Glodt.

Earlier this week, a non-Native American student requested permission to decorate the cap they would be wearing, but the school officials told that student it wouldn't be allowed.

"We want to respect every kid, we want to congratulate every kid, we want it to be an important ceremony for every child, and our ceremony is maybe more formal than some. We don't allow all the kids to just put whatever they want on their graduation caps,"

Superintendent Dr. Kelly Glodt wants to maintain the formality of graduation, while ensuring each student enjoys their day, and he has no plans to change their graduation policy.

"I don't see us changing anything when it comes to what we have done in the past and what we will do in the future," said Dr. Glodt.

The district does a number of things to honor Native American students. They will be playing the 'Honor Song' during the graduation ceremony.

Superintendent Glodt says they will gladly accept idea for change from students, staff, and parents.