GUEST WRITER: Kiernan Dean-Hall
Do most people consider the wearing a hat or the use of a cell phone to be on par with harassment or bullying?
Effective Monday, March 13, Loy Norrix will consider the wearing of a hat within the building as well as any use of a cell phone without extremely explicit permission to be on par with harassment and bullying, category two offenses also referred to as “Serious Misconduct” in the student code of conduct, punishable with up to 10 days suspension, or, under repeated offenses, consequences ranging from more suspension to expulsion. This means that wearing a hat or using a cell phone is also considered to be a single step down from offenses such as Arson as well as Criminal Sexual Conduct.
This is too far. In my years as a student, yes, I have seen cell phone usage detract from the educational environment. But to the point that those who use a cell phone without permission should be removed from school for multiple days? Never.
To the point that the plugging in of cell phones to charge (far from where any student might be able to use them) should be outlawed? Never.
Have I ever seen someone wearing a hat and thought to myself gee, that sure detracts from my ability to learn? Never.
I myself prefer to wear a hat in school, knitted by my very own mother, to keep my nearly bald head from getting cold. Why? Because a cold head impedes my ability to learn far more than a hat.
Not only are these new rules excessive in the first place, but the punishments for these crimes are beyond ridiculous. Up to 10 days suspension with the possibility of expulsion for multiple infractions—for using a cell phone? Suspension removes students from the educational environment entirely, which is far more of a disruption to their learning than cell phone use. In the Loy Norrix Weekly Bulletin there is a table that shows how many students are in each grade each month, and every month, there is a slight drop in students. Adding more regulations to the student body not only decreases the morale keeping many from dropping out of high school, but also contributes to the school-to-prison-pipeline, a plague on our society perpetuated by bureaucratic, one-size-fits-all rules such as this one.
For those unfamiliar with the school-to-prison-pipeline, the American Civil Liberties Union, defines it as “a disturbing national trend wherein children are funneled out of public schools and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems. Many of these children have learning disabilities or histories of poverty, abuse, or neglect, and would benefit from additional educational and counseling services. Instead, they are isolated, punished, and pushed out.“ Continual suspension for what are, in reality, minor offenses will only lead to perpetuation of this plague.
This rule not only targets the actions of students but also lays the groundwork for punishing teachers for using common sense in noting the individual cases and lives of students. A memorandum was sent to every teacher the week of March 6th, stating that effective March 13th, school administrators will be performing random classroom checks for hats and phones and will be writing up any teachers who fail to comply with the new school regulations. Not only is this a waste of time, and to a further extent money, but it’s also blatantly disrespectful to every teacher in Loy Norrix. Every teacher has a unique classroom environment that cannot be regulated. If a teacher is having any issues with specific students or classes, they will let the appropriate parties know so it can be dealt with properly. Any other action by the administration is superfluous and pedantic.
If the administration’s goal is less about the hats and more about profane references or the like, that’s already covered in the student dress code. If it’s really just about hats, then it’s only a lame grab for dominion over the student body. All they accomplish by implementing these rules is have the student body grow to hate them as time goes on. Most people, when painted into a box, will inevitably try to break out of it. All the administration can gain from these power hungry moves is further resistance.