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Graduating Utah Students Often barred From Wearing Leis

Salt Lake City School District was forced to ban leis due to graduation venue policies.

  Some Utah high schools don't allow students to wear leis and other ornamentation during graduation ceremonies, a restriction that the state's Pacific Islander community says feels discriminatory.

Some schools around the state have sought a uniform look for graduating students that limits distractions or special attention, resulting in bans on ornamentation.

For some schools, the bans were placed by the venue for the ceremony. The Huntsman Center at the University of Utah where several ceremonies were held this year, including four ceremonies for the Salt Lake City School District, banned all leis.

District officials say they're hoping to change the facility's policy to be more inclusive.

M. Vida Hafoka, whose son graduated from Westlake High School, says "leis are a token of love and appreciation."