Written by Mya Yetso |
Photos by Mya Yetso
In the first Is This Morgan or Middle School? post, students shared their views on the dress code and sign out rules. This post shares the views of the staff and administrators who oftentimes make or enforce these rules.
The teachers here at Morgan were reluctant to share their opinions on these policies because of their obligation to enforce them, so many teachers declined to be interviewed or requested to only answer certain questions. Some teachers expressed their fears of speaking out against the school’s policies.
Teachers seem to be in agreement on the purpose of the dress code (pg 19). Most came to the conclusion that it is to promote a professional and appropriate environment that helps students focus on what they are learning and not what they or others are wearing. However, some teachers do agree that certain parts of the dress code are questionable.
Science teacher Mrs. Walston said she has “no idea” why girls aren’t allowed to wear tank tops. It became apparent that most teachers, in fact, had no idea why girls are not allowed to wear tank tops. She mentioned that maybe the dress code, especially the tank top part should be “reconsidered and readdressed” because it can get very hot in the building on certain days so it may be hard for girls to not be able to wear tank tops. She said she would “also like to see some focus on the boys and what [they] are wearing because it does seem unfair when it is just focusing on the girls”.
Teachers were also torn on the phone policy. While nearly every teacher said they felt the phone pockets took away from the constant use of the phones, the policy doesn’t always diminish the craving students appear to have to check their phone for messages and notifications. Social studies teacher Chris Zawadski said that he felt that now that the phones are less of a problem, Chromebooks are becoming more of an issue. He said, “a lot of the distractions kids [have on their] phones, now they are distracted with on their Chromebooks.” He said he has noticed a difference in only some kids.
Mathematics teacher John Madura said that he understands students’ concerns about the sign out sheets. He emphasized, however, that the school is not trying to create a “police state,” and students need to understand that there are people of all ages in this school: “there are 14-year-old, even 13-year-old people in here and there are 18-year-old people in here,” said Mr. Madura, “so this is for people’s protection.”
Principal Keri Hagness stressed the importance of the sign-out sheets and tardy sheets. She explained that the sign out/tardy sheets are primarily for “safety and security”. She mentioned how she felt students may have taken advantage of teachers in the past and how she saw several students leave class to use the bathroom and then stay in the hub with friends for nearly 10 minutes at a time. Mrs. Hagness said she felt at certain times students took advantage of teachers who are “just really nice.” She said she often would hear students say “oh it’s ok he or she doesn’t care,” so the idea of the tardy book is holding people accountable.
She also said that as well as keeping students accountable to get to class on time, the sign out sheets help teachers be accountable for the whereabouts of their students. The problem with the sign out sheets is students do not always write their full name, sometimes just their first name, sometimes something that is illegible altogether. Mrs. Hagness said they are working with teachers on ways to help enforce this or encourage students to use them properly.
The staff and administration at Morgan seem to be in agreement with the importance of these rules. However, they also understand why students are in such opposition to the policies, and some teachers even agree with students’ arguments against certain parts of the dress code. The staff and administration hope that students can begin to understand the reasoning behind certain policies that are designed to keep students safe and accountable.