Dress codes overshadow education

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Glancing through a school code of conduct could give you an idea of how many restrictions are placed on students in the classroom.

Attendance. Dress. Discipline.

There are so many issues being stressed that it seems as though those in charge have lost sight of (what should be) the real concern - the students' success.

Before you think I'm anti-rules, my point is that there have been times at school when I was more worried about my shirt being too low-cut, or how many tardies I had left before I got suspended than about the paper I had due next period.

Other students at Westside High School seem to agree.

"It seems like everyone I know is getting suspended for tardies or written up for the dress code, all the while getting behind on his/her assignments in the classroom," said senior Dayna Symms.

Of course there should be some exceptions and rules enforced, but the focus of the faculty should be on providing knowledge.

"Rules establish an environment that an individual or an organization would like to achieve; however, we must pick and weigh the important issues.

I truly feel in order for our students to become engaged into learning, we must focus on career interests," said Renee Kelly, the girls varsity basketball coach.

She said that when students value the importance of their career interest, rules will no longer become a major factor.

Once that is done, she said, "I feel that dress codes and suspensions will no longer become a high issue of concern."

The tables might have turned.

In March, the Richmond County School Board dropped the uniform policy for middle school students.

"It's another thing to be excited about once I'm at Tutt," said Steve Wilson, who will be in sixth grade at Tutt Middle School in the fall.

There will still be a dress code, and the magnet and alternative schools will keep the uniform policy, but this is a step forward.

Students will have one less nonacademic hurdle to jump. That means they'll have an easier path to learning. I don't see how that could be a problem.

Stephanie Wilson, 18, is a senior at Westside High School.

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bone 04/10/07 - 05:37 am
good luck with your first

good luck with your first real job where you show up with the correct uniform on time every day. schools are trying to prepare students for the real world of corporate work. If you don't fit into the scenario of one who works under someone else's rules, you'll need to hone your individual talents so you can start your own business. most work in our country requires you to submit to the requirements set forth by your boss regarding attendance and dress. how about if perfect school functioned like this: you don't turn in your homework, you are fired; you show up for work late, you are first suspended, then fired on the next offense; you wear inappropriate clothing, you are counseled, then fired on the next offense. that would be more realistic. no, college doesn't function the same way - if you are accepted to college, there is an understanding between you and the school that you will function in a way that gives you freedom to learn in order to prepare you for a certain type of career. public school doesn't function under this learning contract except at places like davidson (which, by the way, seems to function exactly like i described a perfect school).

MJDW 04/10/07 - 11:20 am
Sorry, bone, I have been in

Sorry, bone, I have been in the work force for over 25 years and had only one job that where I had to wear a uniform and then I had choices. School is for teaching. Parents need to teach thier kids about dressing the right way.

stillamazed 04/10/07 - 02:22 pm
I do agree that schools need

I do agree that schools need dress codes but I grew up in the 70's and we just knew what we could not wear to school and if you look at places like California there isn't such a rigid dress code. Also the dress code is not always fair. Take my daughter for instance, she is 5'9, long legs and even though her skirt hits her leg at the same area as a short girls she gets called out all the time because they appear shorter on her but when she does the finger tip test she passes. I also have been working since I wa 15, I am now 47 and I have never worked any where that required a uniform and being a professional I know what and what not to wear to work and I think that the majority of our children know also.

bone 04/10/07 - 04:25 pm
MJDW and MSucks, thanks for

MJDW and MSucks, thanks for making my point: children do need to be taught by parents what is appropriate and inappropriate. Perhaps you should set foot on a school campus and check out the latest fashion trends - make sure it is a campus that could be considered "troubled." Then, imagine a class of people who don't even have the good sense to dress appropriately & you, the teacher, are required to instill some basic knowledge for life in them. No, I don't have to wear a uniform to work, either; as a teacher, I choose to wear a shirt and tie everyday because I believe the image it projects is appropriate for my position. If students (or parents) would put the same consideration into the simple tasks of picking out clothes then maybe I could do my job & not concern myself with silly things like dress codes. School is for teaching; parents, help your children understand that what they wear DOES affect how they are going to be treated in the world.

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