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Monday, May 25, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Mortarboard can be worn during anthem

By Judith Martin

Dear Miss Manners: I am responsible for coordinating the commencement exercises at the high school where I teach. A colleague and I are having a lively discussion regarding the proper etiquette for women today wearing graduation caps during the National Anthem.

She says if the caps are not clipped or pinned on, the young women should remove them. I, on the other hand, feel that traditional etiquette calls for only men to remove their caps during this time. Can you advise us of the proper protocol?

Gentle reader: It is certainly not to have some take off their caps while others do not. Never mind whether or not they are pinned or clipped to them – to onlookers, the hatted will appear to be unpatriotic and disrespectful.

So you do need a policy. Of course that is what you asked Miss Manners to set, and now she is going to waffle. Sorry.

The mortarboard is a professional, unisex item, not to be confused with a lady’s garden party hat. In theory, it is subject to the same rules that govern their male colleagues.

However – the mortarboard is also a particularly aggressive head grabber, flattening any hair upon which it sits. Furthermore, graduations are often held out of doors, making it necessary to anchor it firmly. So Miss Manners might weaken and yield if your high school graduates plead that they have already had their hair done for the prom.

Readers may write to Miss Manners at MissManners@ unitedmedia.com, or via postal mail at United Media, 200 Madison Ave., 4th Floor, New York, NY 10016 or (in black or blue-black ink on white writing paper) to Miss Manners, in care of this newspaper.

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