The local rag has a story about how the
DUNCANVILLE – When Raylee Montgomery’s shirt became untucked in the hall of Duncanville’s Ninth Grade Center, an administrator quickly approached her. The 13-year-old said she apologized, tucked in her shirt, and asked if she could continue to class.
Instead, she was suspended from school, a result of the district’s zero-tolerance dress code policy that some parents say is too extreme.
Zero tolerance goodness. Gotta love government schools.
Duncanville has had more than 700 suspensions for dress code violations since doors to the high school and Ninth Grade Center opened Aug. 18 to 3,540 students. That averages roughly 24 suspensions per school day.
That also comes out to 15-20% of the student population, assuming that there aren’t a massive number of repeat offenders.
The consequences of breaking the rules include a one-day suspension for a first offense, two days for a second offense, and two days plus a loss of school privileges for a third offense.
Don’t look for sense in government schools. I looked at the dress code, and while it is pretty strict, it isn’t overbearing. I work under a stricter dress code here. The problem that I see here is a lack of judgment. That shouldn’t be surprising — zero tolerance usually means zero thought.
It isn’t obvious in the text of the story, but it between the lines: this is about authority and control. Regimentalizing dress and appearance is the first step to regimentalizing thought. That is why the first thing they do in boot camp is shave your head and put you in a plain khaki uniform. That is a Good Thing when you are making soldiers. It is a Bad Thing when you are trying to teach children to think.
On the other hand, there have to be limits. That is why I don’t oppose dress codes in general, even strict ones like in Duncanville. What I do oppose is making a big deal out of minor and trivial infractions. If you want compliance, dish out detention. It sends the message that the rules will be obeyed without the detriment to acedemic performance that missing school has.
This sort of zero-thought policy has one of two effects on a student. It either makes them totally compliant and unwilling to question any rule from an authority figure, or it causes them to learn contempt for all authority figures. If they can’t be trusted to administer minor rules fairly, they cannot be trusted with any rules.
I was the latter. I’m still recovering.