Saturday, October 6, 2007

Goths argue over School dress Code

In the United states following Columbine many schools instituted dress codes outlawing gothic fashions. Now in Florida one school has revised the code:

The Brevard County School Board tweaked its dress code policy to remove the word "Gothic" this week.

That was a judicious move. No other group of students is listed in the policy. Hip-hop and jock styles also break the dress code, but their groups aren't singled out for censure by name.

Branding Goths as somehow dangerous was unfair and unneeded. But some Goth kids dislike school dress code restrictions -- such as bans on facial piercings and heavy makeup -- and petitioned the board to ease them.

The board correctly said no, and Brevard schools will continue to prohibit piercings anywhere but the ear, and extreme make-up.

The dress code also rightly forbids clothing or accessories with violent, death-oriented or sexually aggressive themes, gang-related items, dog collars, and other styles that can be disruptive in the classroom.

The new ruling allows goths a bit more freedom of expression. This followed a campaign by local goth pupils at Rockledge High. This is a fine example of a committed campaign organised intelligently on a local level to fight against pure prejudice which has won a small but significant triumph, in that they will be able to wear gothic items that do not break the code. The group continue their campaign. Baggy pants associated with rap and hip-hop are also banned in the school.

If there is no general uniform policy for a school then children should be free to wear what they want within reason. Sportswear indicates certain gangs as much as anything else. As is now known the Columbine killers did not follow gothic fashions nor were they part of the subculture in general. If simply wearing black makes you a goth someone should tell the Church. It is interesting Columbine was mentioned in the article showing how deeply the media coverage took root.

Gordon Crews, a professor at Washburn University in Topeka, Kan., who specializes in Gothic subculture studies and criminal justice said:

"There's so much misperception and miscommunication that it leads to hysteria," he said. "Just because kids are wearing black or a facial piercing, we automatically attach that to disruptive behavior when most the time these kids are well behaved."

Interestingly one of the pupils claimed her goth clothes were part of her Wiccan spirituality.

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