Notes from the Newsroom
John I. Carney

SSA Policy

Posted Thursday, February 7, 2008, at 8:47 AM
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  • Soooo, Pretty much the new "Dress Code" is the same as the old SSA except now it excludes K-5 and 6-12 are allowed "Standard Blue Jeans" (Whatever Standard means)

    Oh yeah that's much better.. NOT!

    -- Posted by Dianatn on Thu, Feb 7, 2008, at 9:08 AM

    The Board reserves the right to modify this policy as necessary. The school system and individual schools reserve the right to determine what may be disruptive and unsafe.

    This is what bothers me the most. I see that if it doesn't apply to muslims head pieces either because it is considered religious. Seems I have a work around. I am going to start my own religious organization that doesn't allow you to dress via any SSA standards. Anyone want to join my religious organization if you don't want to dress like they want your kids?

    -- Posted by Evil Monkey on Thu, Feb 7, 2008, at 9:20 AM
  • I rather like the idea of our kids wearing burkhas(?).

    1. They'd be cheap.

    2. They'd be different from what the fashion industry was selling.

    3. Every garment would look the same.

    4. Kids could get ready for school quickly since zits and bad hair days could be hidden.

    5. Students could wear longjohns underneathe in winter or wear nothing but a smile underneathe in hot weather.

    6. Pockets could be included to eliminate the need for purses and backpacks with cartridge type holders for #2 pencils and Sharpies.

    7. There would be room for advertising space so the school could get sponsors to pay for necessary educational tools in return for our youth serving their natural function as walking billboards.

    8. Kids could become less obsessed with their body type.

    9. The design would be modest.

    10. Security personnel could be salted among the student body undetected.

    Similar garments have worked for thousands of years in dozens of cultures.

    Sure,this type of apparel would have the flaws of any loose,concealing clothing but if that can be dealt with for one exempt-from-SSA population,its downsides could be tweaked for everyone.

    We'd just need to apply a little ingenuity to the problems.


    -- Posted by quantumcat on Thu, Feb 7, 2008, at 12:36 PM
  • I sent an email to Amy Martin, but received a notification failure--unknown recipient.

    If the school board does pass this resolution even though the majority (remember--that was the philosophy our country was founded on) is against it, then my theory is that it will not be enforced fairly and the administration will continue to be intimidated by the "gangs" and that we will not be given documentation that it is working.

    I guess we'll find out soon and when school starts next year, we parents need to demand evidence that it is working.

    -- Posted by Ezma on Thu, Feb 7, 2008, at 12:39 PM
  • As I have said before, the only way that the school board or County Commission will listen is by your vote. If you don't like what they do, then don't forget about it when election time comes and make sure you vote them out.

    I also said that talking to Amy Martin would do no good, she thinks that she is God.

    -- Posted by Lower Taxes Please on Thu, Feb 7, 2008, at 5:39 PM
  • I forwarded my email to Barry Cooper and he very graciously replied. When I say accountability, I mean that the Administration in the H.S and M.S. and all those teachers need to consistently enforce the rules across the board so that our good students are not the only ones complying with yet another school requirement. Documentation should be kept to prove that it is working.

    I would also like to know why all you people who supposedly support this resolution have not called,emailed,sent letters or expressed yourself at forums.

    -- Posted by Ezma on Thu, Feb 7, 2008, at 6:33 PM
  • Because as someone put it, "they were scared to speak up!"...

    LOL, they aren't ashamed to voice their opinions on here though, b/c there is no name or face associated with that loud stance...

    The dress code is a disastrous policy that tries to put bandaids on gaping wounds. Continuously trying to restrict inherent rights and trying to solve the education problem by addressing student attire, is the essential problem with the school board. They are focused on the WRONG issue. I just wished they'd quit worrying about an outfit and start focusing on the quality of education, perhaps they could start by making sure whomever they hire is qualified. When I attended highschool, there were many "teachers" wrapped in coach swaddling, they had no idea how to teach. So, no the clothes didn't inhibit the learning process it was the unfortunate fact of having unqualified teachers.. I did, however have MANY highly qualified teachers, whose passion wasn't students fashion, but their education!

    -- Posted by darrick_04 on Thu, Feb 7, 2008, at 6:55 PM
  • I have no problem speaking up publicly against it next week at Harris Middle where it is being held. I will see you there.

    -- Posted by Evil Monkey on Thu, Feb 7, 2008, at 8:18 PM
  • I was very,VERY lucky.

    When colleges were cracking down on unprepared students,the freshmen who had had exceptional teachers (as I'd had) not only avoided the remedial courses but the regular first level classes as well.

    The schools were ready to place us directly into upper level honors courses because they knew that our teachers would have never let us out of the classroom without a thorough grounding in the subject matter.

    It'd be great if we could maintain that kind of reputation for quality in every area.

    It would not only give our children the skills they need,it'd give them a sense of pride and hope for the future.

    Each student will have different abilities and needs but the best instructors know how to find strengths in us we never knew we had and they work hard to maximise those strengths so we might become every bit as good as we are capable of being.

    -- Posted by quantumcat on Thu, Feb 7, 2008, at 8:19 PM
  • The board went to the community, listened, re-wrote the dress policy to have a consistent countywide code and the naysayers still want more. Some of you amaze me............you are exactly what you are accusing the school board of being, narrow minded individuals who are only concerned with your own inner circle and how you perceive this effecting you. If you have ever bothered to attend a school board meeting (dress code forums excluded) or fully read the T-G accounts of each meeting then you would know they spend a great deal of time on many important issues. They were elected to serve their respective districts to try and make the system the best it can be, can it be better yes, everything has room for improvement, but then they came to us, the community and asked us what we thought, they obviously listened, made changes and you still complain. I see both sides of this issue but in the end I think the board is trying very hard to look forward and give OUR children every opportunity to succeed. Many parents are NOT fulfilling their obligation to their children and fair or not rules and guidelines must be put in place to assure a successful outcome for each student. The world is not perfect but at least the board members have tried to make a small part of it better for the students in Bedford County. I have children of my own and although I have tried to raise them right outside forces have made me re-evaluate how we enforce our rules at home and many of our problems have been caused by others who are being raised or cared for without the most basic of human relationship concepts. The board is having to adjust to this same principal........while many students are not a problem many are and fair or not sometimes you have to make tough decisions for the ultimate good of the entire group. Will everyone be happy no but I don't see this dress code as being a crushing blow to our youth.

    -- Posted by Go Figure on Thu, Feb 7, 2008, at 9:24 PM
  • Excuse me? We are narrow minded ? Because we don't feel there is a bases for this "Dress Code" that is laughable.

    When the school board starts buying my child's clothing or paying my wages then they can tell me what color clothing I should buy. Until that time comes I really need a reason why a pink or a stripe shirt would cause any one any harm. If the children who wear clothing that is against the current dress code were sent home by calling the parents this would never be an issue.

    I guess come election time us narrow minded parents will have to make a not so tough decision for the ultimate good of the entire county.

    -- Posted by Dianatn on Thu, Feb 7, 2008, at 11:01 PM
  • I am glad they revised the dress code to exclude K-5 students. That was the biggest problem I had with the original proposal, and i am thankful that the school board listened to those concerned about that particular issue.

    However, I think the "standard blue jeans" part is going to be a problem with all of the various styles and designs available. Do they even make plain blue jeans for kids anymore?

    -- Posted by Richard on Fri, Feb 8, 2008, at 12:46 AM
  • Go Figure,

    Since you are clearly on the School Board by the mentality you speak, I can also make a logical conclusion you do not have kids. I have been to the more important school board meetings and I can honestly say, I was blown away by the lack of concern for several students who were bullied, harrassed and arrested without probable cause. When it was deemed by law enforcement they were not at fault nor was there any offense. That child was kicked out of school anyways. That child NEVER caused any problems at school.

    The other child involved received written death threats by several students, the evidence was WRITTEN and SIGNED by offending students. What happened? The offending students LIED, schools didn't even consider the written letter and the student victimized was removed from school. Is that how you deal with REAL issues?

    This SSA is junk, it is a waste, I will fight it. Amy Martin, stated she recieved no emails regarding people against it, but I am sure she didn't recieve any that was for it. Hell, her email address is invalid from what others have mentioned. There is no basis that states SSA improves anything but oppression by the school administration as it is another way to control students.

    If the school wants to improve, how about giving hope, dreams and maybe a little TEACHING. Instead of instituting marxism, why not add Art classes after school, or maybe chess club, how about an astronomy club, or a rugby team? How about teaching some Musical instruments?

    Why does taking away the ONLY freedom of expression the students have left seem like a good idea? Maybe it is because the people making the decision do not have kids, or do not LISTEN to the kids.

    I am sick and tired hearing how it is the parents fault, honestly I know for a fact it is the schools fault, because if they cannot manage the kids, how could they manage and enforce this retarded policy that has NO bearing on learning nor does it improve behavior.

    -- Posted by Evil Monkey on Fri, Feb 8, 2008, at 7:10 AM
  • Britney Spears wore a catholic school uniform and look how she turned out. LOL!

    But really, the school administration is looking for easy answer to issues that go far deeper than types of clothing and they need to dig deeper and worry about fixing those issues. There is such a disconnect with parents and kids and teachers in today's society and changing school clothing is not going to solve that and if you think so then you are evidently seeking easy answers that don't fix real problems. Parents need to get back to being parents and not best friends and put down the cell phones and get involved in their kids lives. It amazes me that so many parents don't know where their children are at times and how they consider themselves more of a priority than their own children. Also, teachers need to start discipline children if the do wrong and make no exception to the child based on income or social status and the school administration needs to give these teachers the power to do so and to also increase the salaries of teachers so they are more motivated to succeed.

    -- Posted by jaxspike on Fri, Feb 8, 2008, at 9:37 AM
  • Richard

    Why do you think K-5 should be excluded in the program? If they are going to use this program it should be for all grades. Seems to me that K-5 would need to be adjusting to the new rules while they are in grade schools. Other SSA programs only use it in the lower grades while High School students use a dress code similar to the one we have now, that is approved per school. That is why it is said to be untested at High School level. The only exception I have seen to this is Metro Nashville, theirs is for all grades and it is not working there at all.

    -- Posted by Dianatn on Fri, Feb 8, 2008, at 10:00 AM
  • I am for it! =) I say it's worth a try.

    -- Posted by Mary on Fri, Feb 8, 2008, at 11:22 AM
  • i am not for it at ALL! i have 4 children that attend Community and I attended the meeting there. It was not supported at ALL and mostky has not been anywhere, so looks like it shouldn't get passed RIGHT? we will see!! My children and maby others have already said that they would show up to school in 2008 dressed as they normally do, what are they going to do? close the school down?

    -- Posted by jssg1975 on Fri, Feb 8, 2008, at 11:39 AM
  • jssg1975,

    I couldn't care less about any of this if I tried BUT are you willing to allow your children to do that? Knowingly break rules?

    -- Posted by LauraSFT on Fri, Feb 8, 2008, at 12:13 PM
  • Mary,

    Your all for what? SSA or no SSA? If you are all for the SSA, you live in a box and/or you don't have children and or you are part of the school board. Because there is no reasonable explanation that you can give that should support this.

    It doesn't promote school spirit, it doesn't improve grades, it doesn't provide a learning atmosphere, it doesn't reduce violence, it doesn't reduce drugs, it doesn't stop bullying, it doesn't stop stereotyping, it doesn't inject a wanton wisdom into the student that wants to learn.

    What it shows me is, this Board has no idea how to fix the problems. They talk to parents like they are children, I had to interrupt a few meetings because of this very mindset, and I had to repeatedly tell them to stop talking to me like that. They would interrupt me as I spoke all the time because in their opinion, they are my superiors.

    Do you want your children to be corporate robots, sheep and or mindless factory workers? Or do you want them to be able to use their brains to create, learn problem solving skills(NOT JUST MATH), art, music, think past the close-mind mentality we are now going to embrace, move forward and stop this idiotic SSA/Dress code and push for addtional avenues for the school.

    All I see are sports and some 4-H/FFA type stuff, I never see Art, Science, Chess, Nothing really intellectually stimulating. School is all about preparing our students for prison and/or minimum wage jobs.

    They do not talk to anyone outside of their board like they were people deserved to be respected. That is one of the main problems.

    The other main problem is the No Child Left Behind BS, this is causing alot of un-needed stress on our teachers that really is counter-productive in teaching the students what they need to know in todays workforce. If this board had any backbone, they would tell the Feds to kiss their backsides and teach the way that SHOULD be in the first place. Let the teachers do their jobs the way they want, they produce more that way. There is no more mentoring by teachers because of the lack of respect by ANYONE and I honestly feel it is directly related by ruleset by the Federal Govt.

    -- Posted by Evil Monkey on Fri, Feb 8, 2008, at 12:15 PM
  • Laura,

    Are you saying during the 1960s, when Martin Luther King walked into segregated restaurants, that was wrong? Because he knowingly broke the rules?

    IF you have conviction this is wrong, Why would you obey something that you didn't agree with in the first place and that you didn't support?

    They cannot pass this if there are enough signatures, I believe it to be 2000, but I need to check.

    -- Posted by Evil Monkey on Fri, Feb 8, 2008, at 12:19 PM
  • Evil Monkey,

    Nice stretch but no, I'm saying they are children and are lead by example. I'm saying that if there is a rule in place they should follow said rule until ADULTS can modify it.

    -- Posted by LauraSFT on Fri, Feb 8, 2008, at 12:21 PM
  • Well yes, Laura, children are lead by example but none of the adults involved will be required to wear these clothes..so where is the example..

    And just because 9 members of a school board decides what is best for the entire county's children don't necessarily make it a correct decision. So if the school board decided the new dress code was Daisy Duke Short shorts and cut off tops would you let your child wear it just because they made that decision?

    -- Posted by Dianatn on Fri, Feb 8, 2008, at 12:37 PM
  • I'm assuming if that was the decision at hand I'd have no choice until I could a.) force the school board to listen to parents or b.) move to a different school district. Of course it would look really funny on my son!

    Children are lead by example as far as rule following in general not "my shirt is blue and so is yours". You're really scaling it down to come up with that mentality.

    -- Posted by LauraSFT on Fri, Feb 8, 2008, at 12:45 PM
  • Laura,

    Look, I am not trying to stretch it, what i am saying is, If you don't agree with it, you don't give up that said freedom because it was made a rule.

    A rule by members of a board that have NO children in school. Funny how it doesn't affect them whatsoever.

    -- Posted by Evil Monkey on Fri, Feb 8, 2008, at 12:51 PM
  • And what I'm saying is do you think it's ok for CHILDREN to take adult positions whilst their parents sit back and watch?

    -- Posted by LauraSFT on Fri, Feb 8, 2008, at 12:53 PM
  • Laura,

    Good point, and you are 100% correct. I should have thought out what I typed, but my proactiveness is not only that as a last resort; but letters, and petitions before that even takes place.

    I am going to be at the Harris Middle School meeting, I hope you are too. I am going to get a website setup for the petition. If anyone is interested in helping out let me know.

    -- Posted by Evil Monkey on Fri, Feb 8, 2008, at 1:01 PM
  • EM,

    Nah, I won't be there as I don't have much to offer up. My children are 3, 1 and a negative 4 months (a little pregnancy humor). As I have said before I'm neither for or against school uniforms. I had the same position in high school as well. I kinda have the "live and let live" attitude. I was just there to get out! lol

    -- Posted by LauraSFT on Fri, Feb 8, 2008, at 1:04 PM
  • Why do you think K-5 should be excluded in the program?

    -- Posted by Dianatn on Fri, Feb 8, 2008, at 10:00 AM

    Because it wouldn't serve any real purpose. Revealing clothing, gang colors, weapons, and bullying because of class differences may be issues for the middle schools and high schools, but they don't really apply to the elementary schools, do they? I'm glad the school board realized this.

    -- Posted by Richard on Fri, Feb 8, 2008, at 1:39 PM
  • Your right Richard but I feel it really won't stop any of the things you just mentioned in middle school or high school either.

    -- Posted by Dianatn on Fri, Feb 8, 2008, at 2:07 PM
  • I think it funny that just because you don't have children in school, you shouldn't have a say in school issues. After all, aren't these the people who will be working in my community? Don't I have a legitimate concern that children get a proper edcuation, even if I don't have any? Shouldn't I be concerned that future police officers, nurses, salesmen, etc. learn basic skills along with respect and emphathy for others? Granted I don't pay for their daily expenses, but my taxes sure do pay for a lot of other things that are for the 'benefit' of others and I don't get the tax breaks that parents do.

    I wish this kind of passion was exhibited when students were passed on to the next grade even if they don't master skills in the name of social promotion. Or when a child is given a diploma when he/she can only read on an 8th grade reading level and can only do simple math. Or when an athlete is allowed to play when not passing academic classes. You won't see many afterschool academic programs because sports practices are right after school and many of the kids who would stay don't have a ride home.

    Yes, I teach and most days its a thankless job and I go home more depressed on the days when a parent is upset about a dress code problem and could not care less that their child has missed many days and/or is falling behind academically. I don't know how much a dress code would help students as much as it might help to get parents involved. If all the people who are so against this would put that energy into helping the school, I think it would be better spent.

    It's lengthy, but here's a great article I just read.

    Guest column: Building children starts at home



    "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6)

    It is no wonder, with God and prayer banned from our schools and basically ignored by society, that our children are struggling so much. It has been said, "As the home goes, so goes the nation." Never before can that be better seen in America than right now. Our country is struggling because our homes are falling apart, and our children are paying the price.

    As a teacher for the past 15 years, maybe I will be able to give you a little insight on the new trends in America and how they are affecting the education system. Since I began teaching in 1993 there have been 425 deaths by violence in schools in the United States. That is an average of 28 deaths each year. Gang violence has tripled in the last 10 years and the U.S. averages almost 2,500 students a year caught with a gun in school. (These statistics come from USA Today and Youth Violence Project.)

    In the '70s and early '80s almost every boy carried a pocket knife to school. Many high school students had a rifle or shotgun mounted in the back of their pickup trucks. However, using them on a fellow student was never an option. So, what has changed? Is it the school system's fault, television, or video games? Who is to blame for the destruction of our children and their values?

    Well, parents, to quote President Truman, "the buck stops here!" These are our children and training them is our responsibility! The ACLU and the NAACP can't do it! The politicians can't save them, the school boards can't save them and teachers can't save them! All of these groups together can impact them and even be an example to them, but it is the parents who train and mold them into the men and women they will become. The amount of success of our children is equal to the amount of time, love, and discipline parents put into it. Great men like Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. weren't just born, they were molded.

    Now that we have that established, let's look at how all of this affects our schools. By law, politicians have said we cannot paddle, nor touch them, (Please know that I do not condone truly inappropriate behavior.) even a supportive pat on the back is now considered inappropriate. We cannot embarrass them, isolate them, or make them feel self-conscious about their bad behavior. We have now been told that we should not give students silent lunch for bad behavior in the classroom because it might hurt them socially. We are not allowed to force them to do their work, but we aren't supposed to give them zeros because failing them is also bad. All of this is because someone will sue us if we do.

    Parents are allowed to take students out of school for one or two weeks to go hunting or to Disney World and it will be counted as an excused absence. That means teachers are required to spend extra time trying to catch them up with no consequences for missing school. Basically, we are teaching our children that they can do what they want, when they want, and they should not have to be responsible for their actions. Now even our school administrators must undergo "cultural sensitivity training" so no one gets his or her feelings hurt.

    Oh, but I am just getting started. Politicians keep saying, "It's time we hold these teachers accountable." Here are a few things that we are now "accountable" for in the schools. Schools must now provide not only lunch, but breakfast as well, because too many parents don't have time to feed their children in the mornings. We must teach them to "Respect and Protect" themselves and others. We must teach them not to bully, teach character education, and sex education. Schools have to teach them not to smoke, drink, or do drugs. We must be trained to watch for signs of suicide, physical abuse, sexual abuse, depression, learning disabilities, gang involvement, and potential violence. We must teach all of this and still have them prepared for the test (the annual standardized test, TCAP)!

    Most importantly, federal law and testing standards require that we must label every student according to race, financial status, and disabilities. However, we must never, ever make the students feel like they have been grouped or labeled. All of this is done so that we can give them one test every April that will judge how much they have learned and if the school should be taken over by the government or allowed to continue "as is." The best part of this is that we, as teachers, are not allowed to look at the test or answer any student's questions during the test. Even after testing is over, if we answer any student questions or are caught discussing the test in any way, we are subject to immediate termination from our position. Is it me, or does this seem to undermine every principle of teaching? It seems a shame to me that many of our middle and high school students are unable to read or write in cursive because elementary school teachers aren't given enough time to practice penmanship. They, instead, must prepare their students for "the test."

    Through the history of this, and every country, there is one constant in the success or failure of their children. That constant has always been the parents and/or family. Historically, parents have been involved and very supportive of the education system. Today there seem to be very few who are involved much less supportive. In most cases today we only see parents when they want to complain, argue, or threaten. Many times the school board or lawyers are called before the school or teachers even know there is a problem. At one time, parents were partners in education. Today, way too many parents are the schools' worst enemies. Sadly, it's the children who lose out the most. Parents complain that we don't have enough schools, that textbooks need updating, and that the schools should keep their children up to date on technology. All are very good concepts, but then they file complaints against the schools for having fundraisers so the children can have these things. The sad part is, parents feel like they have won something great for their child when in reality, the children lose the opportunity to work for something they desire and earn the feeling of pride in their accomplishment. What they lose is integrity and what they learn is that if they complain enough, they can get something for nothing. Parents push that we keep our schools safe from weapons and drugs but file complaints because we have a dress code. Can you see how parents are crippling our schools and disabling our children and the hope for the future?

    Every year in this county we have parents of far too many students whose parents teach them a fake address so they can go to a school out of their zone. At one time that was called lying and would have gotten the child into trouble. Today it's just teaching our children how to get what they want even if it's against the law. Teachers have to deal with students so overly medicated that they are unable to remember what class period it is, much less learn. This is so the child will not disrupt the parents while they are at home. Politicians have passed laws to increase the amount of physical education because children are out of shape. They have passed laws to crack down on fat in food and snacks in the schools because the children are overweight. When did all of these problems become the school's fault? It's not the schools that let children on myspace.com, allow them to see rated R movies, or let them play violent video games for hours. It is time we, as parents, stop expecting the schools and the government to do our jobs. These are our children; therefore it is our responsibility to mold them into the men and women that our future needs. It is my dream that both of my sons will grow up to be better, smarter, and more successful than me. For that to happen, my wife and I must put forth the effort, support, and discipline needed to prepare them for life. A very sad truth is that most teachers spend hundreds of dollars every year for lunches, field trips, supplies, uniforms, and fundraisers for someone else's children just because we want to help and encourage them. An excellent example is a coach that I know who helped a child get on an athletic team at his school. This coach paid for his uniform and encouraged him in his classes. When the coach was forced to release the boy from the team for not keeping team rules, the parents filed a complaint against the coach for being racist. When a principal gathered students according to the testing groups, previously mentioned, in order to encourage them to work hard and raise their test grades he also had a complaint filed against him for being racist. Both the coach and the principal are the same race as the students. The parents have gone so far as to call the NAACP in to research the complaints. Our society has reached a sad state when things like this are happening. Both of these men have had their integrity attacked for caring about their students and wanting them to reach for higher goals. It appears that everyone is protected except the educators.

    Every year millions of dollars that are intended for the improvement of our schools and their students are wasted fighting ridiculous complaints filed by parents who don't want their children to be responsible for their actions. No wonder teachers are in short supply and the burnout rate is increasing every year. The mental and emotional stress placed on educators today is insane. Teaching was once a job that people could do simply because they loved children. Today a teacher must be mentally and emotionally ready to crawl through the political trenches of society in hopes of helping one child. We have to keep hope in the lives of children whose parents and society have long given up on.

    As parents we must remember that our children are gifts of God, gifts greater than any amount of money will ever be able to buy. We must mold and shape these young children into the men and women that our forefathers believed in so much that they were willing to die. This is a great responsibility and one each and every parent has to God, their country, and their children. Writing this letter has been difficult, knowing that there are still a lot of parents that are trying to give their children the best start they can. Unfortunately that number has been slowly declining every year that I have taught.

    I cannot begin to tell you how many teachers cry in our schools and at home every week. We are seeing far too many children with needs we just cannot fill, pain we cannot heal, and problems we cannot fix. I've been to too many funerals of my past students who felt that they had no hope. According to U.S. statistics on suicide, 1,000,000 suicide attempts are made each year by students age 10-24. Five thousand of these are successful each year. That is an average of 100 students between ages 10-24 who die every week because they think they have nothing for which to live. You see, parents, politicians can't fix this. It has to be us. "As the home goes so goes the nation." If we truly want to improve our community, our state, and our country, then it must start in our homes.

    If this article has offended you or made you angry, I apologize. I never intended to step on your toes. The purpose of this article is to prick hearts. It is from the heart that true change occurs. If I have touched just one person or caused anyone to pause and think about his life and his family, then the time and thought spent writing this article will be well worth it.

    Greg Vick is a resident of Creekview Drive in Murfreesboro and a Rutherford County Schools teacher.

    -- Posted by Jacks4me on Fri, Feb 8, 2008, at 2:20 PM
  • Jacks4me,

    It is funny you mention about the parents and I agree 100% that parents need to be more involved. And I can proudly say I am. Both of my children and their teachers are in constant contact. If my child if out of line, it is my job as a parent to make sure that doesn't happen again. Period.

    The teachers responsibility is, and they have communicated all issues with me regarding my children, that way, they don't have to deal with him or her after that. The problem is dealt with and they can do their job as teachers, NOT enforcers of policy. I have left work, as has my better half, if a problem does arise. The burden should not be placed on teachers to enforce anything but to teach their classroom of that hour.

    Look, I sympathize with the teachers too. Really I can see how hard it is with all the bureaucratic nonsense, and I am not placing blame on anyone entirely. I am stating that the SSA is not going to fix anything and it will cost the schools more money to enforce, cause more hardships for teachers, students, parents and law enforcement.

    This is a lose/lose situation for everyone involved with the exception of the company selling the clothes.

    -- Posted by Evil Monkey on Fri, Feb 8, 2008, at 2:53 PM
  • I enjoyed your article Jacks4me and I also agree parents should be more involved with their children. I always tried to be involved with everything my children ever wanted to do from sports to girl scouts. But we both also know it takes both parents working these days to make ends meet and sometimes there just isn't enough hours in the day to do everything your child wants or needs to do. There are many parents out there who could care less where their children are but that is not anythng new there were kids like that when I was at school also and I am sure you knew of a few also.

    I don't think I am being hard headed at all about this SSA I just don't see the point in the parents having to go buy certain clothing for their children to wear to school. The only problem we have here in Shelbyville is students not dressing in accordance to the current dress code and still I believe that the school should be enforcing this..not all parents buy their High School children's clothing some children actually work and buy their own clothes. If these students know the school will make them go home and change they won't buy revealing clothing any longer to wear to school.

    -- Posted by Dianatn on Fri, Feb 8, 2008, at 3:29 PM
  • Diana,

    I was one of the children that bought my own clothes (in later years of course) and I HAD to buy the stuff that I could wear to school because had I gotten into trouble I had alot more to lose than a shirt or low rider jeans. What kept me thinking along those lines? I KNEW all 4 of my parents would be irrate should they have to leave work or even get a call about my behavior. The majority of mornings my parents weren't there before I left for school but the impression they made upon me was. My point earlier was that parents like jssg1975, aren't helping anyone by allowing their children to break rules set forth. If there was a dress code that my parents objected to they would object the appropriate ways, in the meantime I would go to school the way the school said I must. If you don't like a rule, fight to change it or in this case fight to have it removed before it is enforced, but don't break it in the name of "injustice".

    -- Posted by LauraSFT on Fri, Feb 8, 2008, at 3:40 PM
  • Laura

    You had to buy clothing that you could wear to school because the school actually enforced the dress code..something that they do not do now.

    That is my complaint about this.

    -- Posted by Dianatn on Fri, Feb 8, 2008, at 3:47 PM
  • I have no idea how it's done now, but I do know that a few short years ago if you were walking down the hallways of SCHS with your shirt tail out or your pants too low you were issued a warning to fix that problem. I can't imagine why they would stop doing that. Do they have a reason behind it?

    -- Posted by LauraSFT on Fri, Feb 8, 2008, at 3:50 PM
  • I have no idea but it sure doesn't happen now. I would say 90% of the students dress according to the rules but there are still that 10% that dress however they wish and nothing is ever said..

    Your shirt being tucked in isn't even in the dress code now and honestly I don't think it needs to be.

    I would never send my child to school wearing something that I knew was against the rules I may not like it but I would abide by it as would she. But the reason would be because I wouldn't want ISS or OSS on her school records.

    -- Posted by Dianatn on Fri, Feb 8, 2008, at 3:57 PM
  • Wow, seems like my pro-SSA choice has made a few bloggers not like me.

    I did not intend for that to happen. Sorry if your angry because I don't agree with you.

    Anywho, I do have two wonderful little boys, 3 and 1 years old, and we will be trying to get pregnant in June with our last; therefore, this topic does obtain to me.

    I don't have to tell you why I support it, actually I explained all that in the one of the other 15 (numbers exagerated) SSA blogs.

    What I do want to say is that I don't appreciate personal attacks when I express my opinion. You are preaching, "freedom, freedom, freedom" for these kids, but when I exercise my freedom of speach, you shoot me down and try to degrade me as a person.

    As far as living in a box, LoL, I'd love too as long as I had my wonderful husband and boys there with me.

    Someone's not being very nice, and you know who you are.

    I feel like the school board is trying to improve our school system by process of elimination. SSA may be a first step? I hope they do all they can before my boys enter the pulic school system.

    I have other things to focus my energy on, like my family, paying bills, and raising my boys to be repsectful and follow rules. I certainly won't be waisting all my hatred on school officials trying to do something, anything to improve our schools.

    There, I gave another reason why I support it...go ahead and shoot me down...again. I know you want too.

    -- Posted by Mary on Sat, Feb 9, 2008, at 12:45 PM
  • Mary,

    If you feel it is an attack, you are wrong, it is called freedom of speech. I would never want someone to feel that way and if you do, I apologize. But freedom of speech is allowed for people to voice their desires, opinions and fears. So are you denying me the freedom to debate your opinion that does not match yours?

    What scares me is one of your statements. Reminds me alot of the patriot act mentality. Give up a few freedoms for security that doesn't work.

    For example:

    "I feel like the school board is trying to improve our school system by process of elimination. SSA may be a first step?"

    Process of elimination? Ok, so when SSA doesn't work, then what? Hairstyles? I guess everyone will have to be bald. What church we attend? What music we listen to? What type of car we drive? When will this process of elimination end? How extreme could it get? I, for one, don't want to find out.

    The school board has no basis to do this. It isn't to improve schools, actually it reduces all effectiveness of the teachers. I don't hate anyone, I hate STUPIDITY of something that makes no common sense.

    BTW you misspelled wasting, or does spelling not count if you are dressed a certain way?

    -- Posted by Evil Monkey on Sat, Feb 9, 2008, at 2:31 PM
  • EM I could say so much but I think you covered pretty much all of it!

    When one of my children bring home a worksheet that I can't understand (no instructions) and I ask OK wheres your book? Oh, this is not in the book mom!!! I really cant remember what my teacher said to do mom!!! How can I help my child?

    As for SSA I sure hope this includes everyone. When I was in school teachers dressed like teachers. Oh, and no casual Fridays either!

    -- Posted by Disgusted on Sat, Feb 9, 2008, at 5:44 PM

    -- Posted by jssg1975 on Sat, Feb 9, 2008, at 9:32 PM
  • I agree 100% that there are many other things that can be addressed before SSA. There are special needs children to be taken care of, the the normal children that don't get enough attention. There are also parents that let the schools raise and disipline their children so they don't have too.

    I have an open mind, and am willing to consider just about anything when it comes to trying to improve our schools.

    I had a special needs brother growing up, and with being extreamly poor on top of that, it was haaaaaaaaarrrrrrddd going through school. Everyday, one of us was made fun of. Everyday, one of us was picked on, or beat up. When I was finally able to work at 15, and I could buy my own clothes, new cloths, people started seeing my capabilities instead of my clothes. I went on to be my class president, you know, the one that has the most responsibities, and the one that gives the big speach at graduation. I was involved in everything, and finally felt like I fit in. I even bought my brothers their school clothes, so they could expience the same freedom I had.

    I have already told my husband that if this SSA goes into affect, then I want to start a fund for children that can't afford the attire. I don't want these precious boys and girls going through the same thing I did. It was H*LL!!!

    Yeah, I don't have statistics on the benifits of SSA, but I know in my heart that those "poor" children, and special needs children will go to school on that first day with a smile on their face. For once they will feel equal, and proud.

    Not to be rude, but I don't have time to dig through a dictionary, so excuse my imperfect spelling!

    -- Posted by Mary on Sat, Feb 9, 2008, at 10:07 PM
  • Mary,

    You would not be able to afford that many clothes for those children, there are so many that are in that situation. But if you know what those kids are going through, why would you support this SSA?


    -- Posted by Evil Monkey on Sat, Feb 9, 2008, at 11:09 PM
  • I am not at all for the dress codes, but I do make my kids follow the dress code that we now have. My opinion is that if the administration would enforce the guidlines we already have, with no exceptions, and focus on my childrens education we would be better off. With that said, parents DO need to be more involved and make sure their kids are also following those guidlines. We have more serious problems in our schools than dresscodes and those problems are not going to be fixed by changing the dress codes. I think more time should be spent at solving the drug and bullying problems, I think it would be great to get some of these other programs people have mentioned into our schools, but ultimately I want my kids to be getting the best of educations. The schoolboard members should listen to the parents instead of just following their own agendas. Just my opinion, I could go on and on but will not but the school board members best remember they are in allected positions and I do vote!

    -- Posted by For the kids on Sat, Feb 9, 2008, at 11:53 PM
  • Before you know it, there will a committee trying to enact mandates requiring all children to have the same meal for breakfast... It's getting ridiculous.

    And EM is right, Mary if you understand how the finances will only drain the parents, because TWO wardrobes are impossibly cheaper than ONE, then why be an advocate for it? It's pointless, irrational, and completely unsubstantiated.

    It's kind of like textbooks, they require every kid have one, and they pay for it... Well, if you're going to pretend to be a private school and require a uniform, then perhaps they should consider paying for them?

    I am willing to bet, that if they had to actually pay for these changes with taxpayer funds, the idea would never even be brought up!

    Let the parents be parents, and dress their children appropriately, that being the key word. And if, for some reason a small handful can't adhere to the policy currently in place, then deal with individuals as just that, don't force everyone to suffer from just a few's mistakes.

    I get sick and tired of hearing from a school board that has ALL the right ideas on how to dress our children, but NO CLUE as to how to educate them.

    -- Posted by darrick_04 on Sun, Feb 10, 2008, at 12:07 AM
  • My husband came up with a good idea lastnight. Put them all in uniforms, let the board of education hire a uniform company to come in and size all the kids, provide the clothes, wash and swap them out every week and replace any that are damaged! If this is what they want let them be responsible for providing all of it! We can all save water thats running out and spend less time doing laundry. YEAH...

    -- Posted by Disgusted on Sun, Feb 10, 2008, at 11:58 AM
  • And another thing! Why is it OK to wear a school logo that can be (any size) but any other brand can't be more than 2 inches?

    -- Posted by Disgusted on Sun, Feb 10, 2008, at 12:38 PM
  • I have not gone through and read everyone's blogs and I'm sure everyone won't read mine. I also grew up poor. When I could finally afford to get the same clothes--guess what--it made little difference b/c I still lived in the same house on the same side of town and rode to school in the same vehicle. And in my day there was no Walmart where anyone can buy cheap clothing that looks the same--and even though I can afford to buy my kids whatever they won't, I won't pay an outrageous price anyway. SSA will not make all kids feel equal. It may(stess may)help some with preventing gang members from being as obvious, but it won't get them out of our schools. If I remember correctly, there was a young lady who was bullied at school and her parents went to the administration and the school board and they finally took her out of school because nothing was done about it. I think that was even before the gang issue.

    I also remember when tucked shirts and no sagging were written as being part of a dress code, but never saw it enforced--except by parents. And those of us who are protesting are the parents who are already involved and are protesting that our kids are the ones already following the rules and others are not.

    And, once this code is in place and we see it doesn't work, what next?

    -- Posted by nellie on Sun, Feb 10, 2008, at 3:06 PM
  • well, nellie, I read your comment and I agree with every word.

    -- Posted by Dianatn on Sun, Feb 10, 2008, at 8:34 PM
  • Disgusted, I agree with what your husband said... And since I know him, I can definitely hear him saying it! Great idea!

    -- Posted by darrick_04 on Mon, Feb 11, 2008, at 2:39 PM
  • I didnt think that far ahead myself but it makes sense. If thats what they want to do, do it right!

    -- Posted by Disgusted on Mon, Feb 11, 2008, at 2:46 PM
  • Exactly!!! That has been my thought, if they REALLY wanted this enacted, they should fund it themselves.. :)

    -- Posted by darrick_04 on Mon, Feb 11, 2008, at 2:56 PM
  • Yeah but the problem is when they say they are funding something it means taxpayers are funding it.. .

    -- Posted by Dianatn on Mon, Feb 11, 2008, at 10:10 PM
  • Taken from the "Opinion" Section!!

    Wednesday, February 13, 2008

    Mary Jones, Guest Columnist

    Our county is on the verge of making a decision as to what your children can wear to school. This decision lied in the hands of nine school board members: Dixie Parker, Ron Adcock, Amy Martin, Diane Neeley, Barry Cooper, Mary Jo Johnson, Jerry Naron, Leonard Singleton and Glen Forsee.

    In August, five of these members are up for re-election: Parker (District 1), Cooper (District 5), Johnson (District 6), Singleton (District 8) and Forsee (District 9). If anyone is interested in running for one of these positions, the paperwork must be completed by noon April 3.

    I could nominate a few folks :)

    -- Posted by nascarfanatic on Thu, Feb 14, 2008, at 10:23 PM
  • Taken from the opinion section ...

    Wednesday, February 27, 2008

    By Glenn Forsee, Bedford County Board of Education

    Thursday, Feb. 21, 2008, had been set as our D-Day, the day of decision.

    Months of planning had led up to the day. Countless hours of discussion had occupied the lives of many people. Financial costs had been weighed. Consultation with others who had already made the decision was processed. More than one sleepless night had followed the days of debate. The final decision would have major implications for thousands, for years to come. A lot of people give advice; a few make decisions.

    In the board meeting, the question was called for to cast a vote. The final tally was nine yes, and zero no.

    A new elementary school will be built in Shelbyville at a cost of $11 million. The first new elementary school constructed in the city in over 40 years will be called Learning Way Elementary.

    The Student Dress Code was not the most important item on our agenda at our February School Board meeting.

    As a publicly elected school board, we are committed to education in Bedford County. That includes building new facilities, building an administration, faculty and staff. It also includes building an atmosphere for learning to take place in.

    The classroom is the front line of education. This is where the teacher and the student interact. The Student Dress Code will help set a better and calmer atmosphere for education to take place in. Some say the statistics don't prove that assertion. Well, there are more than statistics in the decision-making process. You manage with statistics, but you lead with vision. As a school board, we are a part of the management process, but we also cast vision. Vision is where you go with your heart when the numbers may not lead the way.

    Earlier that day I stopped by my old school in Nashville, Antioch High School, now Antioch Middle School. I introduced myself as a Bedford County school board member and spoke with the assistant principal.

    "How is your student dress policy affecting the educational process here?"

    Social tensions were down, and the classrooms were calmer, was his response. I even visited a seventh grade English class, taught by a former classmate of mine. The students had adjusted just fine to the policy, and learning was taking place.

    The student dress policy is just that: a student policy, not an adult policy. There are different rights and responsibilities between children and adults. This also is part of the educational process.

    In light of the growing influences coming into our county and local communities, this student dress policy is important. Through this policy, we can help define the values and traditions of Bedford County. We value every aspect of the educational process and strive for excellence on all fronts.

    Each month we, as a school board, make decisions. Some decisions carry greater weight than others, but each one is important to the educational process. Each decision is a building block for the future of our children.

    Your continual input is needed and valued. Each voice that speaks on an issue is important. The quiet voice on the street has as much validity as the vocal voice in a public forum.

    As a result of our vote, we will break ground and keep building for the future.

    Forsee, an Assembly of God pastor, is the Ninth District representative on Bedford County Board of Education.

    -- Posted by nascarfanatic on Mon, Mar 10, 2008, at 7:28 PM
  • nascarfanatic - i know you are trying to defend what you and the school board are doing but i have discussed the things you are doing, following other school example of things that dont work and you are stuck on them and will not waver. Why dont you look at things that has worked in other schools or use that gray matter given you between your ears which you have worked to devilope and put yourself in others position that have to contend with the decisions you make. These are old but things have not got any better.

    -- Posted by ayew on Fri, Feb 26, 2010, at 4:49 PM
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