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SECURITY, APPAREL PROMPT COMPLAINT

Despite actions to improve security and prohibit skimpy clothing, Lockport schools continue to have problems with both, said Donna White, a parent with children in the school system.

In a visit to Lockport High School, she said she found doors unlocked and felt free to wander at will because the hallways appeared unsupervised. She also said the skimpy attire of some girls seemed to violate the district's dress code.

In a post-Columbine age, she said school officials -- including those at North Park Middle School, where she also reported finding an outside door unsecured -- should take greater care to make sure they know when visitors and strangers are in district buildings.

She also described the clothing worn by some girls as inappropriate.

"I saw one lady . . . had an outfit on with a (small) top. Her entire abdomen down to her pelvis was exposed, and the coordinated skirt that went with the top barely covered her private areas," White told the School Board last week. "There were a few other examples of clothing like that," she said.

White said she also observed unacceptable behavior and an apparent lack of student respect for the community, as well as themselves.

These safety issues and dress code violations should be addressed, she said.

W. Keith McNall, board president, directed Superintendent Bruce T. Fraser to look into the complaints.

A safety policy, adopted last fall, requires all students, staff and visitors to wear identification tags at all times in school buildings.

People wandering around the buildings without them must be reported to the central school office and required to sign in and state their business.

The board also banned inappropriate clothing. Parents even were notified by mail about the dress code students are expected to follow. It specifically prohibited skimpy clothing.

At the time the dress code was adopted, Susan C. Nablo, assistant superintendent for learning and assessment, appealed for parental support.

"This has been a particularly difficult year with the dress code because a lot of what's being featured in the fashion world is very scanty, skimpy and provocative," she said.

"So we are asking parents to remind young women in particular that spaghetti straps, bare midriffs and other skimpy clothing are not appropriate in the workplace, and that school is their workplace."

e-mail: pwestmoore@buffnews.com

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