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If the student government at Los Alamos High School has its way, or more accurately the entire student body, students at the school could see a massive revamp of the dress code.
Student Council President Soumyo Lahiri-Gupta, Vice President Jason Dunn and other officers of the council approached the Los Alamos Board of Education about making modifications a recent meeting.
According to Dunn, their survey questions to the student population revealed two main gripes: the required length a pair of shorts must meet and the way the dress code is enforced.
During the presentation, Board Secretary Matt Williams asked the students in attendance just how difficult it is to find shorts that go to four inches above the knee, the code’s current requirement.
“It’s very hard,” said one student, while another added that Capri pants are another option, but “they aren’t shorts.” The students added that it gets very hot in the classrooms during the summer months, making it very uncomfortable.
At the meeting, they presented the school board with a report of their findings as well as a suggested replacement of the code.
“We believe that the adoption of this dress code will improve the overall morale at Los Alamos High School and increase student spirit,” Dunn said.
Besides length and enforcement, the student council wants to make major changes to penalties as well, cutting down second violations to just one day of lunch detention instead of five and not having any violations carry over to the next school year.
Lahiri-Gupta also warned the board that in order to make sure the findings stood on their own merits, they let the students express themselves freely.
“Many students were very passionate about how they felt about the dress code...and due to validity concerns and legitimacy concerns, we couldn’t censor them, so just keep that in mind,” he said to the board.
Though it all looked great on paper, school board member Kevin Honnell suggested the student council at some point produce a “fashion show” for the board for purpose of clarification.
“If the school board were to request it, would you be willing to put on a fashion show where you show us people that are dressed in clothing that is currently prohibited by the existing code but would be allowed by the proposed code? To actually see what you’re suggesting might be a very expedient way to see if it’s within the community norms,” Honnell asked.
While Lahiri-Gupta and the others agreed, the board also suggested they further work with the high school’s administration to refine the changes before their next appearance before the board.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Gene Schmidt said he was proud to see the students gave an organized and thought-provoking presentation.
“The students are always insightful and are always giving us chances to revisit our thinking,” he said. “Their next step will be to go back and work with their principal, Miss (Sandra) Warnock and come up with a list of suggestions to work within the system. At some time in the future, we suspect they will then bring these agreed-upon recommendations to the board.”