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Schools reverse ban on lei giving at graduation

Leilehua and Baldwin High Schools are now allowing loved ones to give graduates lei after its...
Leilehua and Baldwin High Schools are now allowing loved ones to give graduates lei after its ceremonies on May 20.
Published: Apr. 20, 2022 at 7:43 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Leilehua High School and Baldwin High School are reversing its bans on lei giving at this year’s graduation ceremonies.

The schools were under fire for banning lei, saying the decision was based on COVID restrictions.

“Unfortunately, we do not have adequate space to safely accommodate 350 graduates and an unlimited number of guests on the field all at once,” Leilehua High School said in a letter sent to parents on Wednesday.

Baldwin High School’s principal sent a letter home to parents last week stating: “As a reminder, there will be no lei/gift-giving allowed at any time before, during, or after the ceremonies (including in the parking lot). Graduates and guests will be required to leave the premises immediately after the ceremony. We encourage families to hold their own lei0giving events at their private residences instead.”

Leilehua said it has created plan to allow loved ones to give graduates lei after the ceremony on May 20. The school said each graduate will receive six tickets for guests to attend, then it will stagger the dismissal of graduates following the ceremony to allow families to honor their student.

Leilehua emphasized that families will not be allowed to set up and stay in designated areas. “The expectation is for people to continuously be moving toward their vehicles and exit the campus so we can dismiss the next set of graduates,” the school said.

Signs, balloons and banners will also be allowed.

Leilehua said rules may still be subject to change.

Baldwin High School parents were told in a meeting Wednesday evening about the school’s decision to reverse its ban.

“We want our graduates to be able to celebrate their graduation with family and friends in a way that honors our island traditions. With graduation still more than four weeks away, we are looking at how we might be able to incorporate lei-giving while maintaining the safety of all participants. Any updates will be shared with students and families,” said Principal Keoni Wilhelm.

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