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Elk Grove Unified School District Board Approves Changes to Graduation Dress Code

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ELK GROVE -- Instead of celebrating with his class, Sacramento sheriff's deputies escorted Nyree Holmes out of Cosumnes Oaks High School graduation in May.

The reason was because of an African Kente cloth he wore over his gown. The colorful cultural symbol went against the policy of wearing non-school regalia at graduations, according to the district.

Now, six months later there's a big change. The Elk Grove Unified School District board unanimously approved a revision Tuesday night to the decades-old dress code.

"I'm just really proud of everyone for coming together and unifying for this extremely important cause," said Nyree Holmes.

The new policy allows students to wear one item of personal significance or individual expression at graduation.

"This reflects the current day and that we have a very diverse culture," said spokesperson Xanthi Pinkerton with the Elk Grove Unified School District.

Pinkerton said the self expression is, however, limited. The attire must be approved before worn.

"Some of the concern expressed during the board meeting last night is will a student come with someone bizarre on them," she said.

Holmes said that's one part of the new rule that concerns him.

"It's kind of scary that there's that gray area that someone is going to decide if that's going to work, hopefully the process that they set up is going to make it so it's reasonable," he said.

While the district works out logistics, current Cosumnes Oaks High School students plan to take advantage of the change that goes into effect in the spring of 2017.

"I'm from Africa so I want to wear something that represents where I'm from," said high school junior Cheukai Makari.

The next step is for school board to come up with the creation of administrative revisions.