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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

OPINION: SSA won't solve problems

Saturday, January 12, 2008

I understand that the proposed Standardized School Attire is directed toward security and the removal of gangs, violence and drugs. However, it is ironic that the identifying marks of one of the first gangs, the Crips, were blue shirts, shoes, khakis and a blue bandana in the left pocket.

I understand the need and desire to advocate neatness and self-respect in dress attire. However, when I see students wearing an ironed short or long sleeve western shirt, neatly tucked into a pare of hole-less jeans, a nice belt and buckle, and cowboy boots, I applaud the effort made by the individual in exhibiting modest and respectable attire. Although the effort is being made to dress everyone in an identical standard and code, which is extremely limited, these students are not the same. There will always be those who have and those who do not -- those with more, and those with less. It is the real world.

If gangs of any sort were sought out and removed as soon as the problem was identified, we wouldn't need a dictator stepping into our children's closets. The problem is fear of the unknown. Clothing will not stop the problem, but metal detectors and drug dogs will prevent major issues. No matter what type of outer garments exist, a knife or gun can be smuggled into a school setting, hidden in the undergarments a person is wearing.

How practical are we really being in this issue? How will each school's individual room temperature be regulated during the summer and winter months to accomodate the requested attire and provide a comfortable learning environment? How many students taking auto mechanics, horticulture or soils vocational classes will wear khakis and polo shirts while working in grease, oil and soil?

I have a son involved in Community FFA who competes in multiple events throughout the year. He wears his FFA jacket, a symbol of leadership and cooperation since 1933, with honor and pride. What is wrong with wearing the FFA blazer throughout the school and to his class? Adults tend to forget that they were once children, and yes, even teenagers, during the wild '50s, '60s and '70s. Who is to say that the basic colors and attire suggested will not create a new silent gang, since students will still socialize within their own monetary level?

Respect for self and others is an important part of maturing, which must be taught with understanding at early ages and nurtured into young adulthood. Leadership, positive attitude, organization and goal-setting must be taught in the Bedford County school system to direct students toward becoming good citizens.

We have a tremendous number of adults who represent our rural Bedford County in an upstanding, respectable manner and they don't all wear khakis and polo shirts. Start with the individual person and open their eyes, which will help get at the root of problems instead of masking them in limited-color clothing. You've got to change the mind, the desires and thought processes, which will change the outside appearance. Our educators and public officials have the wisdom to understand that the pieces of a puzzle which exhibit vibrant colors and shapes come together to present a beautiful picture that has its own unique qualities.