Stress Code

It’s time once again for that zany game that we call “Let’s Rag on the High School Administration!”

But before we start, let me explain that I do not look for little things to be picky about, as do certain members of the police force who read this column. But sometimes it gets hard to have School Spirit when we have to endure such things as — and this is the topic of this week’s whining — The Dress Code.

According to the student handbook…

  • Pants that sag “below hip level,” displaying “swim suits” are not allowed. (Apparently, we can show off our underwear all we want, but they draw the line at swim suits.) Also, tank tops where “excessive body is exposed” are not permitted. But what constitutes “excessive body”? Certain people, you’ll agree, should display less of their bodies than othes. The Administration, however, has decided that tank tops are not allowed, period. I can see how they would arrive at that, since the actual wording of the rule is so obscure. It could be taken to mean either that 1) tank tops are allowed, except where excessive body is exposed, or 2) they are not allowed, no way, no how. It’s so unclear!

  • “Bandanas on heads, except for… style related purposes, or visible from pockets, are unacceptable.” What does “style related purposes” mean? Obviously, that means we can wear them on our heads, and if someone stops us, just say it’s part of our style. But why else would we wear them? For medical purposes? Legal purposes, perhaps?

  • “Only hats with school name and logo shall be permitted to be worn on campus.” Many people don’t like this rule, and I can’t say I blame them. Personally, I never wear hats because I feel they contribute to brain damage, but I don’t think they should be outlawed. And I don’t feel this way for any high-minded, journalistic, “freedom of expression” reason, because anyone who needs a HAT to express himself obviously has nothing important to express.

    The reason I don’t like the rule pertains to the reason it was made. Elsinore High has a problem with gangs, and no other active measures, short of expelling them, which they apparently haven’t tried, have worked. So the Administration decided to make rules against the clothing styles of gang members, hence the rules against bandanas, sagging pants, hats, etc.

    But I think their logic is a bit flawed. Trying to get rid of gang members by not letting them dress the part is like banning plaid clothing in an attempt to rid the world of senior citizens: Anyone who is already one will remain one, and the new rule will not prevent anyone from becoming one.

    Furthermore, they’ve only done half the job. Gangs, of course, are largely associated with the Los Angeles Raiders, and now Raiders hats (along with all other hats) are not allowed. But Raiders shirts, jackets, underwear, etc., are!If they really think banning gang clothing will get rid of gangs, they need to ban all team-related clothes. They obviously can’t just ban Raiders things, because the gangs will just switch to a different team (probably one of similar magnitude, such as the Buccaneers). So they need to get rid of all team things.

    (Another advantage of this is that for a while, before the reformed gang members can return to the mainstream of life, they can be readily identified on campus because they will be naked.)

    Placing a ban on all hats is simply a case of over-doing it. To my knowledge, no gang member has ever worn a bonnet made of straw with a pink ribbon tied around it, nor does it detract from the Learning Environment, but such things are no longer allowed, which really frustrates me, because Easter is right around the corner, and I’m going to have to buy a new outfit.

    Watch me stick it to The Man! The new dress code at Elsinore High School was the subject of much furor and brouhaha, and I think my attack on it was pretty well-organized and thought out, for me.