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article imageTexas Middle School Forces Students To Wear Scarlet Letter For Dress Code Violations

By Nikki Weingartner     Aug 27, 2008 in World
On her first day of school sporting a plain black T-shirt and a pair of jeans, one Texas teenager was held in contempt of the dress code. Her punishment? To wear a school supplied T-shirt adorned with a giant letter "A": Abstinence.
In Corpus Christi, Texas students at Southpark Middle School were forced to wear an Abstinence T-shirt for certain violations of the school's dress code. On the front of the T-shirt was a giant letter "A", which resembled the marking of the 17th-Century scarlet letter that stood for adulterer.
On the back? Ten reasons to be abstinent. One of the statements on the back said:
"I can wear my CIS shirt and not have to worry about sex."
In a Corpus Christi news report, two teens who were reported as wearing plain black t-shirts were cited for dress code violations and placed in the abstinence shirt to cover up the seemingly unsightly plain t-shirt. And what made it worse is that the parents were not notified.
One of the girls talked about how she was teased by other students because of having to wear the shirt.
In May of 2008, dress code guidelines were sent out to parents identifying t-shirt specifics and in those guidelines, some students and parents believed they would be allowed to wear plain black t-shirts. However, five days prior to the start of school, the school board changed its dress code wording that eliminated the confusing plain t-shirt wording. They posted the change on-line and students were not privy to the information until they were hit with the giant "A".
Parental consent will now be required on all students who wear the abstinence t-shirt that somehow is more appropriate with the word "sex" written on the back than a good old fashion black or gray cotton t-shirt.
The t-shirts were donated by the program called Communities in Schools, which helps keep children in schools and provides safe places for them to go.
Was this a backdoor attempt to push an agenda by not giving a grace period up front due to the administrator's lack of providing clear cut guidelines on the dress code or was the giant "A" just a t-shirt to help cover up a problem that students already knew would be considered a violation of dress code?
If nothing more, forcing students to wear a scarlet letter of sorts and humiliating them does little for their self-esteem when it comes to ensuring a healthy start to the school year and can have devastating consequences. The school could have provided a school logo t-shirt instead of a big "A".
More about Texas, Dress code, Abstinence t-shirt
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