Dress codes overshadow education

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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