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DRESS CODE ATTEMPTS TO CONTROL ATTITUDES

West Seneca Senior High School's attempt at introducing a dress code can be seen as another manifestation of the public school system's need to oppress any kind of individualistic or eccentric attitudes held by students.

Advocates of this ruling claim it has educational benefits, but I think these are merely specious. At best, it will merely result in bestowing administrative approval on teachers who want another tool to legally harass those "problem" students who aren't on the team, don't play in the band, or who don't "get involved" at pep rallies.

Using such illusive phrases as "dressed to learn" (what the heck is dressed to learn?), they try to harness their own moralistic biases to academic policy. Dressed to distract is also vague in definition. Obviously, a well-legged 16-year-old in short shorts or a halter top could prove to be distracting (in some cases even to the students!) or a death-rocker with a "heroin rules" T-shirt might be out of line, but I think such cases should be dealt with individually.

Teen-agers are human beings and don't deserve to be housebroken like puppies. Instead, why not find out why that girl needs to flaunt herself like that, or why that boy wants to glamorize drugs, and work from there?

A similar ruling in September which, by the way, would make a good story line for a bad '50s movie, was the banning of black T-shirts because of their alleged gang implications. The only gangs that I recall as being threatening in my high school days were those regiments of yahoos with the numbered jerseys, vandalizing public property so everyone could see how "bad" they were.

Gangs aside, the shirts were probably banned because of some frightened, quasi-Christian theology that black is an "occult" color. Maybe the teachers are watching too many tabloid horror serials.

By snow-jobbing the kids with educational rhetoric, they strive to keep the choke collar tight in hopes that the students will turn out to be good little day-laboring, Galleria-going, Bills-loving white people just like themselves. With all the happenings in Eastern Europe, isn't it clear that fascism isn't really where it's at? Let them wear what they want, the code is causing a bigger row than their wardrobes.

JAMES WOLFE
Bowmansville

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