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Eagles News Nest Newspaper

by Myavia Lewis, BTW Student

There’s a new look at Washington High School, and it has nothing to do with steel beams, poured concrete or a fresh coat of paint.  We are ‘touching up’ on accountability and students have a lot to say.

The school dress code gets a lot of attention at Washington.  Some students follow it, some don’t and then there are those who really just hate it   Having a dress code has been a part of the school for several years now, so the problem had to be solved.  We just needed a new approach, and maybe a new dress code all together.

Why the change?  It was an opportunity to teach a valuable lesson plus the dress code and students wearing their ID badges consistently was a requirement that Dr. Phillips was not giving up on.   Since the dress code was the biggest challenge, something had to give.  Some students thought, “We should have more privileges than what we have.” or “Why do we need a dress code anyway?”  
With the help of the teen leadership academy, a group of students who meet with Dr. Phillips to discuss what students want and need, the verdict was not about giving up or giving in.  It was about holding students accountable for creating an alternative to the dress code and following it.  If students wanted a change, they had to organize.  The new rule: If students reported to school with the ID badges clearly seen and if the young men kept their pants pulled up and on their waist during the trial period, the administration would consider relaxing the dress code so students can have ‘free dress’ one day a week.  It was a start, but for some not enough.   “We need more days than just one day out of the week, this isn’t elementary school!” a few students believed.

The positive outweighed the negative opinions and things are going pretty well.  One teacher added, “I agree with the new dress code standard. I also believe that most of the student body likes the new idea and agree with the change, but some students do not realize how much Dr. Phillips is listening to their opinions.” Another tenth grade teacher said; “I don’t mind. I believe that it’s one less thing that students and teachers have to worry about.”  

Although some students might have some concerns, there are just as many others who agree that we are going in the right direction. Most of the students like the plan while others believe “we shouldn’t have to qualify to wear free dress, we should just have it.”

If we are given this opportunity, what happens when one person, or a few students do not follow the rules and jeopardize the plan for everyone else?  Will students band together and encourage each other to follow and obey during the new trial period?  This is a privilege and privileges can be taken away!

A lot of thought went into modifying the dress code.  New issues that were never an issue before had to be addressed.  The voice of the student body is represented by the Teen Leadership Academy.  They had to consider whether shorts would be allowed or how young ladies can be instructed to wear skirts that are appropriate.  What about students who align themselves with the LGBT(Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community?  Should their dress code be the same?  What freedoms will the students be able to enjoy and will they respect their friends enough to begin showing responsibility?  Many discussions still linger.

These are all tough question for both sides to answer. In the end, the dress code issue boils down to accountability, expression and freedoms.  Which will win?