Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Scarlet Letter "DCV" (Dress Code Violator )

You won't believe this. Coming just hours after the last major reporting of a school dress violator comes another even more disturbing story. This time about a high school student who was made to wear a ridiculous rag that said "DCV: Dress Code Violator" after being forced to remove his patriotic tee-shirt because of an asinine school policy.

Then to make it worse, the school tried to silence his protest with the media. School dress violations are becoming a popular way to ignite students against their inferior taskmasters these days.

Officials at the Merced County school confirmed Thursday that Jake Shelly was forced to take off a red, white and blue tie-dyed American flag T-shirt on Tuesday. The shirt said nothing offensive, just: “United States of America, Washington, D.C.” The school’s assistant principal issued Shelly a bright yellow T-shirt that read “DCV: Dress Code Violator” to wear for the rest of the day. He was given his shirt back after classes ended.

“It was really embarrassing and humiliating to have to wear that all day — and just for supporting your country,” his sister Kaycee Shelly said.
Nothing short of the Scarlet Letter approach, and that's putting it nicely. Is this really the school's approach to decreasing disruption? One has to wonder how disruptive a bright yellow T-shirt saying "DCV: Dress Code Violator" is in a classroom, and how disruptive an embittered high school student, along with an embittered school and teachers, is going to be.

Earlier in the day, he was speaking with a local news station when an unidentified teacher walked up to him, ripped off the microphone clipped to his shirt and told him he was not allowed to talk to the media.
This action makes no sense, unless you want to consider that since the school already doesn't want to promote the diverse American culture, that they are no longer in support of the right of free speech in this country either. Otherwise, the school has no authority as to saying who the student can talk to, they simply don't want to loose face in front of the criticism of the more commonsensical public who would eat them alive.

District officials said they apologized to the student, his family and the local American Legion on Wednesday — Constitution Day.

The assistant principal initially thought Shelly’s T-shirt violated a clause of the school dress code that does not allow “shirts/blouses that promote specific races, cultures, or ethnicities.”
This part of the dress code seems designed to be interpreted wrongly. What do they consider as "promoting" various ethnicity and cultures? If the goal is to promote diversity in the school, why aren't the students allowed to wear clothing that promotes their race, culture, and ethnicity? Does this mean that if a girl goes to school wearing a dupatta or a hijāb (head scarf) that she'll have it taken away because it "promotes" the Muslim or Punjabi culture? And worse, that she'll be forced to wear a bright yellow shirt saying "DCV: Dress Code Violator" for the whole day?

Probably not. But in any case, if the rule were to be interpreted literally, it doesn't sound like a way to promote diversity, or make sure no one's ethnic background is trampled on--only undermine it. And how exactly does "United States of America, Washington D.C." trample on American diversity? What kind of country is this where young people can't even wear clothing that promotes the country they live in?

The shirt was a colorful play on hippy clothing for a school spirit week, not a deliberate attempt to disrupt the school environment or trample on other ethnicities. But at least the school saw the error of it's way and apologized, and then went on a binge with the media trying to save face. It's a sad time in America if this is the automatic knee-jerk response to student expression.

Students on campus started a campaign to wear as much red, white or blue clothing and carry as many flags as possible Thursday in protest of Tuesday’s decision, despite the apology. Jake Shelly wore the same shirt he wore Tuesday and was not disciplined.

“I am glad so many people are supporting this and wearing red, white and blue,” his sister said. She believes the swift change in rules was because of the overwhelming student action.

The bright spot in this country has and will always be with it's motivated youth. Student action can bring about change, and it should.

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