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Students fight back against neckwear ban

November 11, 2008 3:21:26 PM PST
A new dress code crackdown at a local school has students angry. They are mad because the school isn't letting them wear neckwear, anything from pashminas to knitted scarves.Ally Theuson and Ashley Mann are high school seniors, good students, and very fashion forward. They'll tell you scarves are in, except at Valley Central High School, where they are banned as of last week.

"They said it's a matter of safety and gang affiliation," Mann said. "And I kind of looked at her, and I was like, well, I'm not in a gang."

"We're not out to hurt anyone," Thueson said. "We're just students wearing an accessory to school."

The no-scarves rule has become a rallying point. On Monday, much of the student body defiantly wore the neckwear to school, then attended a board of education meeting, where they presented a petition signed by more than 300 students.

"It's nice to see kids can bond together and actually earn some power just by sticking together," student body president Logan McDermott said.

Valley Central's first-year principal says the high school of 1,800 doesn't have a gang problem. She says the rule is meant to send a message to gang wanna-bes.

"If I'm erring on the side of caution, I don't apologize for that," principal Joanne Avella said. "Because to me, safety and keeping, maintaining an atmosphere of academic learning is the most important thing in a school."

But students complain, as do some school board members, that the principal adopted the policy without telling anyone. Parents agree.

"I think it's silly, I really do," parent Jill Henry said. "She wears a scarf every day to school. It's practical."

"Are the kids not allowed to wear red anymore?" parent Donna Goff asked. "Are they not allowed to wear black or white? You know? So I kind of give my hand to the kids."

And the students will be heard. The principal and student council will meet first-thing Wednesday morning in an effort to work out a compromise.

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STORY BY: Eyewitness News reporter Marcus Solis

WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King

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