Thoughts From A Fed-Up Cluttered Mind This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Walking through the halls in my school recently, I gandered, attempting not to trip over anyone or thing. While strolling to my next 42-minute taste of educational delight, I spied a T-shirt on a student with some famous ants and a particular bottle of weekend pleasure (also known as beer) that is a theme for a commercial set to the 1970's classic, K.C. and the Sunshine Band's tune "Get Down Tonight." It was late, and I was hurrying to class. So I kept walking.

But, a revelation of past commotion flooded my brain and I did a double-take. Then, a triple-take.

In this lonely hallway, I remembered a passage on page 5, middle column, third paragraph of the Official 1995-96 Allegany-Limestone Central School Calendar and Rule Guide (my home school). The paragraph, titled "Student Dress," contains the following:

"Any clothing promoting drugs, sex, alcohol or tobacco products is not permitted in school." Further down, a single sentence reads:

"Such clothing prohibits a conducive environment for learning."

I also seemed to remember a piece published on the front page of The Olean Times Herald early last year with a picture chronicling the development of such a policy here.

Later in the day, I saw that same student still wearing the shirt.

Gee, I thought, I wonder if anyone has said anything to him about his shirt today? Having the usual lack of time, however, I passed without talking to the student.

Another day, on my way to the computer lab, I had a smidgen of extra time and spied a female student, wearing a Black Velvet T-shirt. Not knowing her, I stepped beside her as she continued down the hall.

"Excuse me," I asked, "Has anyone said anything about your apparel today?"

"No," she replied, "what do you mean?"

"Has a teacher asked about the alcoholic message of your T-shirt?"

"No ..."

"Has any teacher ever questioned your judgment in wearing such clothing that might inhibit my educational experience?"

"No," she huffed, storming down the hall away from this stranger.

Now before some "school community members" get all upset, take the point. There is a rule on the books. Last time I checked, if a rule is written, it is normally enforced. Looking at this point, I asked a senior, whose father is a state police officer, about this very same principle.

"Would your father not stop a person traveling 90 m.p.h. down the expressway because personally he thought it was okay to travel that fast?" I asked.

"No," the student replied, "he would enforce the law because it's his job." Point made.

Then there is the clause about "prohibiting a conducive learning environment." Why would this clothing affect me?

It doesn't.

Has the wearing of such clothing polluted my environment? No.

Do my grades show a decline? No. Do the governing "school community members" seem to think so?

No.

Why, you ask?

Because most do not enforce the rule.

The object of this column is not to criticize the governing "school community members" for their enforcement of the rules. Maybe, in all sincerity, the teachers do not notice these offending articles of clothing. But, some make a point to notice and choose to enforce this rule while others don't. It is not fair for certain students to be victimized for their dress, while their peers go unpunished.

Consistency garners respect. ?


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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