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After a wee bit of publicity, kilt permitted at graduation

A sudden change of heart among school officials in southern Alberta means a 19-year-old student will be allowed to wear a kilt to his high-school graduation ceremony after all.

When Hamish Jacobs asked the principal of Raymond High School if he could don his family's Scottish tartan when he took the stage next month to accept his diploma, he was told boys were required to wear dress pants, but that he could sport the kilt at the postgraduation supper. An appeal to the Westwind School Division's superintendent was met with the same response. As Mr. Jacobs's plight made international headlines and generated a growing Facebook following, he said he planned to appeal to the school board.

On Wednesday, authorities gave in: The principal and school superintendent told Mr. Jacobs he could wear his kilt under his graduation gown to collect his diploma. He said he wasn't given reasons, but that there would be another meeting later in the week. Neither principal Mark Beazer nor superintendent Doug Bennett could be reached for comment. But school trustees agreed it was the right thing to do.

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"Mom we won," Mr. Jacobs wrote in a text to his mother, Rose Forbes-Quist, upon learning the news.

It was her Forbes clan's blue-and-green tartan he hoped to wear in honour of his relatives, who came to Canada from the Scottish city of Perth in 1965.

"I am proud that he's handled things the way he has," Ms. Forbes-Quist said.

Mr. Jacobs wasn't sure which way officials would go to settle the issue, but is relieved he can continue his studies.

"I'm so happy," he said.

Trustees will review dress code policy at their next meeting June 1.

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About the Author
Dawn Walton

Dawn Walton has been based in Calgary for The Globe and Mail since 2000. Before leaving Toronto to head West, she won a National Newspaper Award and was twice nominated for the Michener Award for her work with the Report on Business. More

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