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Harrison Student's Twitter Post Shows Dress Code Violation Consequence

New principal Lawrence Stroughter says the policy of having students wear an over-sized T-shirt preceded his tenure, but he supports it.

The Twitter post has been deleted, but a Harrison High student will likely not soon forget a photo she shared Thursday on the social networking site. 

The post showed her dressed in an over-sized T-shirt emblazoned with the words "Dress Code Violation". And while one parent thinks the punishment is the wrong way to go, new principal Lawrence Straughter says he fully supports it. 

He said the shirt appropriately covered the student in compliance with the school's dress code. When students are more concerned with their attire and "how much they can show", Straughter said, "that's not how we do it at Harrison. Our focus is on academics."

The shirt is "an encouragement to not violate the dress code," said Straughter, adding that even though the t-shirt preceded his tenure at the school, he supports it. "If I felt like it was shaming the student or demeaning the student, I would not support the idea." 

"I hope that people see I'm not one that would like to dance around with these issues," he added. "That's not where I want to spend my time, that's not where I want administrators to spend their time, that's not where I want teachers to spend their time."

Parent Melissa Brodsky said her children showed her the Twitter photo after school on Wednesday. While she said she understands both sides of the dress code issue, she said, "to me it's the equivalent of a parent making a kid stand alongside the road with a sign saying 'I screwed up'." 

She said parents should be buying, and sending their children to school in, more appropriate clothing. If a child violates the dress code, parents should be required to bring them something else to wear. 

The over-sized shirt, she said, is "public shaming", even though kids may make light of it. "There's better things to put money toward than these shirts," Brodsky added. 

Dress code aside, something else in the Twitter post drew Straughter's attention. He said he found a gun icon placed in the photo's caption, which complained about the "new principle", more troubling, especially given the attention nation-wide on gun violence. That's what he addressed with the student, he said, noting she appeared to be remorseful about the incident. 

Straughter said he cautioned the student that what she posts on social media can affect her future, because colleges and universities may look at a student's social media profile as they are considering admissions.

"I think she heard the message, and her mother certainly heard that message," he said. 

Bryce January 19, 2013 at 03:25 AM
As it stands, the dress code in effect at the Farmington/Farmington Hills high schools are pretty liberal. Much too liberal in my estimation. This Lu Lu Lemon phenomenon that is taking place is appalling. Although allowed under current dress code standards, they shouldn't be. A parent that takes umbrage to their child being forced to cover up with a t-shirt because their child violated a VERY lax dress code may want to re-examine their views on propriety.
Chad Shush January 19, 2013 at 04:24 PM
Of course it's meant to shame the student or else DRESS CODE VIOLATION wouldn't be all over it. If the point was merely to cover something that the school felt was inappropriate, a plain ole purple T-shirt would accomplish the same thing.
Bryce January 20, 2013 at 02:58 AM
Teaching a student to be ashamed for an inappropriate actions shouldn't be viewed a bad thing. Frankly, personal responsibility and feeling shame for insolence, is something that is sorely missing in much of society today. Kudos to school administrators for trying to teach it even in an unconventional manner.
Melissa Brodsky January 20, 2013 at 05:59 PM
But, is this REALLY teaching them to be ashamed? I have 3 high school students, they say the common consensus is...kids think it's, on the most part, pretty funny. This t-shirt isn't going to solve the problem. I remember when I was in high school ( a couple of years ago), the board was considering a sort of uniform. My opinion now, as a parent, I don't think a sort of enforced uniform is a bad thing. Then there won't be a problem with these lululemon work out pants and shirts that are too short.
sylvia January 20, 2013 at 07:53 PM
Nothing will be a problem if parents do their job of telling kids what's appropriate & what's not appropriate to wear to school & then enforcing it like other parental limits. Parents: Make rules, enforce them, provide consequences if the rules are broken. That's how kids grow up to be responsible & law-abiding.

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