Nineteen-year-old Canadian student Hamish Jacobs was bummed when both his principal and superintendent turned down his request to wear his family kilt to the Raymond High School graduation. And while international Facebookers lambasted the school for cultural insensitivity, gender bias, and violating Jacobs’ right to self-expression, the school might just have had a less evil reason for refusing his request: not wanting an individual student to stand out or … accidentally flash his junk during the ceremony.
Jacobs’ family emigrated from Scotland in 1965 and though he has never been to Scotland and has only worn a kilt once in his life, Jacobs says he wanted to wear it out of respect for his ancestors and as a traditional part of Scottish formal wear. “I find it funny,” he says. “The school teaches you to respect your heritage, be different, be yourself. And so I am going to be different, being myself. And they don’t like that.”
An official at Raymond High School says the policy is regional and that it’s there to ensure no one student steals the spotlight in a ceremony meant to recognize all students equally. She laughed when I asked her about a commenter’s claim the school wanted to avoid an accidental flashing saying, “No, I don’t think that’s a worry.” She also added that each senior gets to wear whatever they like at a senior fashion show in June where they highlight individual achievements, future goals, and individual style and added that Jacobs has also been invited to wear his kilt at the post-commencement dinner.
(NB: “Cross-dressing” is in air quotes for the obvious reason that men wearing kilts is not actually cross-dressing.)