October 20, 2008

Sue, sue, sue: Time better used teaching basic values goes to enabling idiocies

MSNBC.com has an article up today about idiot parents who argue with school officials -- and even get arrested in the process for causing such a ruckus -- over ... a school's dress code.

Gina Castillo, of Lawrence, Mass., and her 16-year-old son were charged with resisting arrest and assault and battery on a police officer after Castillo confronted officials at Lawrence High School this month. Administrators had suspended the boy, who was not identified because he is a juvenile, for a “uniform matter,” forcing him to miss three days of classes and an important test.

School officials called police when Castillo got into a heated argument with the school’s safety officer about the uniform policy. When officers arrived, they told her she would be arrested if she did not leave. According to police, Castillo responded, “Arrest me.” Her son was arrested when he tried to intervene.

Terrific values Ms. Castillo is instilling in her boy, eh? Don't get your way? Get arrested and resort to physical violence. God help a teacher who may have given her angel a low grade.

Last month, Shabraia Dodd, 15, was charged with assault on a police officer after she was arrested for wearing a jacket to East Ridge High School in East Ridge, Tenn. Shabraia acknowledged that she was in violation of the dress code, which prohibits wearing jackets in class, but she said she was recovering from a cold and had offered to remove the jacket after class.

Um, you don't get arrested for "wearing a jacket." You get arrested for continually disregarding school officials' requests. What most likely happened here was the following: 1) A teacher asked Dodd to take off the jacket. 2) She refused. 3) Teacher asked again. 4) She refused again. 5) Teacher either sent her out of class (and she refused to leave) or teacher called for an administrator; Dodd refused to go with administrator. 6) Administrator attempted to grasp Dodd to escort her out of the class. 7) Dodd became physically violent in response to administrator "touching" her. 8) Police were summoned in response to Dodd' physical actions (and, most likely, accompanying profanity).

And at North High School in Akron, Ohio, dozens of students were suspended earlier this month after nearly 100 challenged the dress code by wearing hooded sweatshirts. A spokeswoman for the Akron Public Schools District said most of the students agreed to take their hoodies off when faced with discipline, but more than 30 refused and were sent home for insubordination.

In other words, "We're all freakin' spoiled brats and we want to do as we freakin' wish." I'm sure many of their parents back them up, too.

The lead story featured several parents who contacted -- wait for it -- the ACLU in response to their kiddies not being allowed to wear an "in memoriam"-type t-shirt for a student who was killed. The article doesn't say explicitly, but it could be easily implied that there is some sort of gang overtones in this whole matter.

Maybe I get too miffed at stories like these since here in Delaware school choice allows parents to decide where to send their kids. If you don't like a school's dress code, you go somewhere else. It's very simple. But that aside, what is it about parents that feel making a federal case out of dress code actually teaches the kid something?? And don't give me that "They're teaching them about freedom of expression" or "Showing them how to dissent" nonsense. No, they're not. They're teaching them to be conceited "you owe me's" who should have all their needs catered to. I imagine these same parents think their kids' future employers will allow them to wear whatever the hell they want in that law office, right? That bank, right? Check it: WRONG!!!

Simply put, adhering to a sensible dress code shows simple respect and decency. As TV and popular culture make dressing like a thug and/or whore more and more prevalent, and as "parents" allow kids to leave the home dressed same, the very LEAST a school can do is maintain a simple dress code.

To be sure, some of the examples cited in the article for dress code violators are certainly idiotic. No kid should be suspended immediately for violating the code. (Constant violations and/or refusal to change clothes can warrant suspension, however.) The school that made violators change into a prison-like jumpsuit? WTF?? IDIOTIC! Why stigmatize a kid so? My school maintains a supply of "approved district wear" -- [mainly] shirts with our school logo (or that of other schools in the district) that students can wear for the day and return at the end of the day if they forget to wear garb acceptable by the dress code.

Posted by Hube at October 20, 2008 05:59 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

"The school that made violators change into a prison-like jumpsuit? WTF?? IDIOTIC! Why stigmatize a kid so?"

Hardly a stigma, Hube. It turns out a number of students at that school intentionally violated the dress code so that they could wear the jumpsuits! Nothin' says gangsta like prison threads.

Posted by: G Rex at October 21, 2008 09:11 AM

Yeah, I guess for certain kids it would be a "status" symbol. I'm thinking of the "average" kid who may forget to dress in code like ONE day -- they gotta wear prison coveralls? That's harsh.

Posted by: Hube at October 21, 2008 09:30 AM

I can remember an incident when I was around 8 years old. I went to a catholic school and we, of course, had a dress code. I couldn't find my shoes one morning and my mother (with a toddler and two infants in tow) was running out of time to get me to school. She made me wear my sneakers. I was so upset because I knew I was violating the dress code. I remember crying the entire way to school. The principal took me out into the hallway and explained that although the school has a dress-code my mother was the person in charge of me and if she told me to wear those sneakers then that's what I was to do. I stopped crying at least but was certainly embarrassed and felt like I stood out amongst my peers the rest of the day. Not a good memory but it certainly made an impression since I can vividly remember it over twenty years later!

The point is -- for some reason the youth of today (a lot of them anyway) don't care about breaking the rules. Some of them probably even do it on purpose just to stand out and cause trouble. I guess even negative attention is better than none at all.

Posted by: NosyNeighbor at October 21, 2008 10:53 AM

We supposedly had this dress code where you couldn't wear shorts in the summer. However, I saw kids wearing them, and not being all that attentive to school polocies, wore them one day when it was really hot. However, the girls wearing them got away with it by calling them "split skirts" (seriously, what's the difference?), and our rather strict (but usually fair, I think) vice principal drove me home to change them, making me miss class in the bargin and rather embarassing me. It was my first dress code offense, I wasn't a bad kid at that time, so it still seems a bit over the top to me.

Posted by: ShadowWing Tronix at October 21, 2008 05:28 PM

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Posted by: J at October 21, 2008 09:19 PM

Slightly different recollection: all our schools (UK) require the wearing of school uniform and even that got me in trouble one day, around the age of twelve. In full uniform, my sweater was wearing thin at one elbow. Being a "dreamer" I was resting chin on elbow, gazing out the window when my French teacher (and old bat, really) pointed out this flagrant uniform faux pas, embarrassing the hell our of me..particularly when she invoked "careless mother". Went home for lunch, changed sweaters (getting a row from mother because I 'knew better and should have checked'), had French class after school, again. I found every girl (class of thirty in an all-girl school) in the class had stuck band-aids, safety pins, tape on their left elbows..some even had unravelled the wool to make a hole. I appreciated their loyalty, felt sorry for the teacher, somehow but I never did make that mistake again. Like a previous poster, some fifty years have passed and I remember the humiliation as if it were yesterday. Not pleasant but, I suppose, a valuable lesson in how/why not to humiliate or embarrass others.

Posted by: Nancy Cleveland at October 23, 2008 11:04 AM