See what color graduation gowns Mira Costa students chose to signify gender equality


It might not be the biggest issue on campus, but Mira Costa Principal Ben Dale wanted to send a strong message this year about gender equality and gender identity.

So, instead of ordering green graduation gowns for the boys and gold gowns for the girls as Mira Costa High School has done since as far back as anyone can remember, 2018 graduates will all be wearing white gowns.

And, rather than sit apart, the boys and girls will be seated together during the ceremony.

Dale said he suggested the change to the Associated Student Body, which unanimously supported him. The senior class then voted on what color they wanted the gowns, choosing from green, gold or white. White won out with roughly 170 votes out of about 350 students.

“The color of a gown doesn’t rise to the level of access to learning and athletics and activities,” Dale said. “It’s certainly not on the scale of Title IX, but from a gender equity standpoint, there is an argument made there that you don’t want to distinguish boys and girls in that way.”

He said the point was to catch “unintended biases where they exist.”

While the decision was not driven by any complaint or lawsuit, the case at many schools across the country making similar choices, Dale said it fell in line with other recent actions administrators have taken.

Two years ago the school opened two single stall gender neutral bathrooms and this year provided two more.

“Our role as an inclusive school is to try and remove those unintended biases that cause unnecessary stress,” Dale said. “I understand tradition and all that, but at the same time, if we don’t need it and it’s not making us better, then we should change it or do away with it.”