#Students' Rights
Henderson County District School Board
United States of America

On a Wednesday morning on August 5th, 2009, numerous students of Henderson County High School were sent home or otherwise disciplined for violations of the dress code, including but not limited to: Piercings, tattoos, and torn clothing. The reasoning behind this code, as stated by the staff of said school, is because such things are a distraction to classmates. This is, quite simply, untrue. All of these things are commonplace in this day and age, therefore lacking any significant ability to distract peers.

What is incredibly distracting, however, are arms wrapped in duct tape to cover tattoos, pants with shiny silver duct tape patchjobs to cover the slightest of tears and adhesive bandages covering eyebrows, lips, and other piercings. Far more distracting, and in opposition to the educational purpose of the school, is having to sit in an office for hours on end - missing classtime in the process - over something so trivial as a torn pair of pants rendering one's kneecap visible.

For the past four years, such things as piercings and tattoos have been allowed. The same applies to torn clothing (granted, within limits) and colored hair. For four years, these things provided no significant distraction. It is a far more potent distraction to have the students all wrapped in tape and bandages - and it certainly doesn't help them focus on academic work if they're all riled up over the dress code rules.

Taking into consideration the counterproductive nature of the current dress code, as outlined in the preamble of this petition, I move that the school board review these rules of dress as quickly as possible and REMOVE them. The distractions of the school's so-called "disciplinary procedures" are far greater than the distraction of a couple of rings in one's lip - a sight which is all too common to students these days, thus bringing its alleged status as a "distraction" into serious question. Henderson County High School is a public school - not a private school - and therefore should not have such strict guidelines. The sole role, in practice if not in theory, of this code is angering students and parents alike, keeping students out of class to deal with petty "disciplinary" issues, and rendering the HCHS building void of any and all physical signs of individuality and free expression.

Such trivial obsession over the students' physical appearance distracts from their education. Pulling students out of important classes for hours at a time does nothing to prepare them for the real world nor does it allow them to complete any work. If you check the planners students are required to carry, there are two to five lines - possibly one full page, tops - discussing the school's standards and goals for education. The remaining ten or twenty pages related to school conduct are devoted mostly to discipline - at least three pages of which is in regard to the dress code. A school is supposed to be an educational establishment, not a conformity-obsessed discipline center.

The staff and school board - along with whoever else aided in the formation of these new rules - clearly have their priorities out of order. As many members of the HCHS staff have pointed out themselves, there will be plenty of time to take part in a uniformed work-collective during one's career, so why eliminate what individuality is available during school years?

This dress code is unnecessarily strict and the discipline related to said code is counter-productive and, quite frankly, just a bit insane. Both the code and discipline thereof ought to be lessened, if not simply abolished.

We, the undersigned, call upon the Henderson County School Board to review and rewrite this code as soon as possible.

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The HCHS Dress Code Review petition to Henderson County District School Board was written by Josh and is in the category Students' Rights at GoPetition.