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Hartselle Enquirer

Sounding off on plans for a new high school and dress code follies

By Staff
Michelle Blaylock, Mom's Corner
I had a mom stop me and ask what I thought about the overcrowded condition of Hartselle High School and Hartselle Junior High School.
I'm afraid I'm going to open up a huge can of worms with this one, but here it goes. Yes, I agree the schools are overcrowded. I'm also concerned with the cleanliness of our High School. I was there one afternoon last year and stopped by one of the girl's restrooms. It was just nasty. It reeked of urine and there was no soap to wash my hands with! Want to know why our kids get sick when school starts? Well there's one of the problems. The overcrowding also has something to do with that. In all fairness, that was just one afternoon, I assume the restroom was cleaned that evening. However, I also noticed last year that the drop ceiling had gotten wet due to a leak in the roof and there was serious amounts of mold growing on the ceiling panels. Again, I don't know if they were replaced this summer, but I would hope so. Overall, the High School is dirty, mostly due to age.
I have heard that the plan is to build a new High School and then move the Junior High into the old High School. I hope they mean to tear down the High School and then build a new Junior High on that site. Otherwise, the existing building would need to be gutted and then use the shell to build a new Junior High, because from my point of view the building itself is part of the problem.
However, I don't think that is the only problem with our schools here in Hartselle. I feel that our "school" (ie. powers that be) focus too much on some things that in the grand scheme of life just aren't that important. Yep, I'm talking about the dress code. Yes, there are things that should not be allowed. The underwear is supposed to be hidden, the bare bellies are meant for the pool, and words on shirts should not be crude or insulting. However, if there are holes in the jeans – who cares? If the kids have piercings everywhere, and their parents don't care, neither should the school. Want to have glow in the dark pink hair? If the kid wants to look stupid and the parent doesn't care, neither should the "school." It won't "detract" from learning for long.
The shock effect will wear off long before the hair color does!
In fact, distractions like those I've mentioned can help teach students to learn to focus on their work and not their surroundings. I guarantee you most students that go on to college will face much bigger distractions than the hair color or attire of their fellow students! It's better they learn to deal with it now rather than later.
There was a time in our history that kids went to school with no shoes, holes in clothes, and if they were lucky, pencil and paper in hand. Those students learned to focus on learning, because they had to. Those students went on to make our country what it is today. We have the best health care in the world. We have the most advanced space program in the world and for many years we led the world in all cutting edge technology.
I'm not saying it should be anything goes. However, I don't think some things should be such a big deal. Unless it's truly offending, let them go. I promise their outlooks will change when they try to get a job or get a job. The kids will then have another type of education, one that society will teach them.
However, if the community as a whole has a problem with the students looking "rag tag" then get a uniform. Yes, I said uniform and I mean real true school uniform from a uniform company. I know most people think that's just awful, but I don't. There's no argument about what's "acceptable" and there's no discussion about what everyone else is wearing. Yes, you have to buy them, but after one mom told me she had to buy a pair of $100 jeans for her daughter, I think the school uniform would be the easy way out! The school could buy them in mass quantities and sell them to students at very reasonable rates. I know one of the biggest concerns I hear when discussing school uniforms is that students won't be able to express themselves. There are many other ways to express oneself. There is writing, drawing, sculpture, crafts, and many, many others.
Also, before I alienate every teacher I know. It needs to be understood that our teachers are just following direction from the "powers that be." The teachers don't make the dress code. From some of the ones I have talked to, they find it a nuisance, too; but they like their paycheck!
There are other things I don't like about our school and I think could be improved on. However, I think this is all the worms I want to let of the can this week.
If you have a question or comment for Mom's Corner, please e-mail it to: moms-corner@juno.com (Don't forget the hyphen!)

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