Staff Editorial: Parents, let the controversy rest

The community needs the IB Robes debate to end

Alexa Vazquez, Editor-at-Large

On April 12, BVH Principal Roman Del Rosario, Ed.D., announced the expansion of students eligible to wear a white cap and gown for graduation, which caused parents to get involved in the controversial discussion. However, it is crucial for parents to respect each other and the administrators when participating in discussions regardless of the topic. (Eiffel Sunga)

At the March 14 Sweetwater Union High School District (SUHSD) Board of Trustees meeting, Bonita Vista High (BVH) witnessed as parent Samuel Sandoval took the first step into a conversation that would spark wild controversy amongst the BVH community.  

The white robe controversy began with a petition started by Sandoval and his daughter to allow high achieving students outside of the International Baccalaureate (IB) program to graduate in white. Over time, this conversation erupted into a major debate arguing whether or not BVH should allow others to graduate in white. After consulting with IB diploma candidates in their History of the Americas class and speaking with the Faculty Advisory Committee, BVH Principal Roman Del Rosario, Ed.D, sent out an email stating that both IB diploma candidates and students with a 4.2 grade point average (GPA) or higher would be allowed to graduate in white. 

Although many parents may feel as though they need to actively continue the conversation as they fight back against a viewed injustice, this should not come at the expense of the respect and kindness owed to students and administrators.”

— Alexa Vazquez

Even after the release of Del Rosario’s decision and two months after the initial discussion of the white robes began, a war on this decision was dragged on by parents who felt the result was “unfair”, according to IB parent and attorney Carlos Martinez. Since the final decision was made, IB parents have called on SUHSD Superintendent Moises Aguirre, Ed.D., to explore legal options of taking action. As a result, IB parents have drawn out a  debate which is no longer worth fighting for, literally. With only one week before graduation, Del Rosario’s decision is a done deal, and the best parents can do is cheer on their students at graduation who have proven to receive the white robe. 

With continuous action from parents, students are no longer at the forefront of these conversations, but rather act as witnesses to inappropriate actions and words parents throw at the administration in their frustration. For example, Martinez personally calls the decision an “abuse of power” and that the administration lacks a “moral compass”.

After several lengthy discussions held with Del Rosario and the superintendent, rather than respecting the terms, harm and hate continues to be dealt with,only frustrating the students involved. Several students took to social media after the Crusader’s fifth issue release, commenting their irritations on the subject coinciding with the publication’s coverage of the issue. 

To end the ongoing cycle of frustration, parents must begin listening to each other and demonstrate the same values of kindness that their students are expected to show in class. With recognition at graduation for their child being the end goal of both sides of the debate, parents need to recognize and respect one another if the class of 2022 is to happily celebrate their graduation together. Without respect, the issue will continue to divide students and create tensions that destroy relationships. 

According to a poll conducted by the Crusader on Thursday, April 21, students had divided opinions on the timing of Del Rosario’s decision. 39.6 percent of students believed Del Rosario’s decision was made with the right timing whereas the other 39.6 percent felt it came too soon. Despite mixed reception, the conversation came to a stalemate after the superintendent announced that the decision would still stand. Parent opinions pushed the discussion further, demanding that a change be made. 

In this way, the robe controversy resembles many controversial discussions present in modern day politics. Political conflicts and controversies are met with a flurry of drastic and aggravated responses. Political debates became yelling matches and progress came to a pause for any individuals looking to have a discussion geared towards problem solving. 

As the class of 2022 comes to a close in a chapter of their life, these students deserve to have adult models who will exemplify mature and civilized discussions. Parents should act as role models for their students on how to engage with those they don’t agree with. 

Although many parents may feel as though they need to actively continue the conversation as they fight back against a viewed injustice, this should not come at the expense of the respect and kindness owed to students and administrators. Harsh words and accusing fingers will only divide students further.   

With many parents ultimately seeking the same respect and recognition for their students, it’s time to abandon the argument. Parents must pay attention to one another in hopes that, come the day students stand on the graduation stage, smiles spread across everyone’s faces, regardless of GPA or white robe.