First day of school in Hammond, Indiana

by beagooddad on August 28, 2006

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Ah, the first day of school.  Catching up with friends you have not seen all summer.  Hoping that none of your teachers assign homework on the first day of school.  Dreaming of the first snow day.  Getting suspended.

Well, I normally tried to avoid the last one, but last week, 128 out of 1200 students at Morton High School were sent home for wearing inappropriate clothes.  For those of you that were included in the list of kids sent home, that’s just over 10% of the school.

Students were sent home for “baggy pants, low-cut shirts, tank tops, graphic T-shirts…and cell phone use.”

My favorite quotation is from school board president Rebecca Ward.  “I’d be supportive if half the school was sent home, because 99 percent will get the message our schools are for education.”

I think the kids probably got the message.  Wear inappropriate clothes.  Get to stay home on the first day of school.  If education were really the primary focus, then I think detention or some other type of action might have been more appropriate.  If the school has that big of a problem, maybe they should look into uniforms.

Kicking kids out of school removes them from the education environment.  This happened on the first day of school.  Nobody could have possibly had prior records from any incidents during this school year.  Write them up.  Maybe give them a little extra homework of writing the school dress code policy 100 times.

In case you haven’t noticed yet, I am not a big fan of a student’s punishment being having them removed from the classroom they are normally trying to get out of anyway.  I am even less of a fan of schools showing they have “the authority” to punish students.  There are only a handful of things that I think should require immediate suspension.   They all involve somebody getting physically hurt.  Hopefully, this school has written documentation indicating that a first offense of the dress code violation can result in the student being sent home immediately.

I remember several times in high school seeing kids with the offensive parts of T-shirts covered with tape by somebody in the school office so that the student could stay in school.  Baggy pants and low-cut shirts could be solved by making the students switch to gym clothes if they have them.  We did not have cell phones, but teachers used to take toys away from kids all the time.  Cell phones fit in desk drawers as well as comics, dice, and Rubik’s Cubes.

My kids are a long way from worrying about dress code violations.  Those of you with older kids, are you aware of the dress code rules and the punishments for violating the dress code?  I would be interested in hearing how different schools handle the situation.

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