By Breonia Lee, News Editor

According to Keenan’s mission statement “The mission of W. J. Keenan High School is to provide an environment conductive to learning, which will enable each student to become a productive and self-reliant citizen in a global society, through diverse and challenging academic experiences in cooperation with the family and community.”

When working towards this goal, there are different factors that can help achieve it. Simply being a menace, appearing in an inappropriate manner, or even regulations that seem pointless can take play in prevent fulfilling the mission.

It all comes down to one question: How can a regulated dress code prevent this achievement?

Keenan administrators choose to enforce the dress code policy strongly compared to other Richland One high schools. The regulations are the same, but the ability to enforce them differs. If this is considered a learning environment, why is there such a fuss over how students present themselves? The main focus should be where students stand academically rather than their appearance.

“It depends upon the administration at each school when it comes to the level of enforcement of rules and consequences,” Mrs. Henrietta Montgomery, Dean of Students, said.

Referring to other “carefree” schools, an Eau Claire High school student emphasized how much of a difference there is in dress code enforcement.

“It’s straight. I don’t have to wear uniforms, so I’m good,” Shamar Miller, an Eau Clair Junior, said.

It is obvious Eau Clair doesn’t put much emphasis on the appearance of students but continues to keep students in place.

It would make more sense if there wasn’t so much focus on what students wear and how they present themselves. That time and energy can be focused on other things, such as test scores and behavior rather than appearance. To rise with achievement, these little things should be less of a priority.

“It is important that we set a standard for our students to embark [on] their careers, so they can meet their guidelines set by their employers,” Mr. Sean Glover, Assistant Principal said.

Montgomery is also concerned for the students’ future and being.

“The big issue is to promote a safe environment and culture of learning for all students,” Montgomery said.

These concerns mean well, but the effort to meet the mission statement lacks support from the student body. With this as a factor preventing achievement, it is hard to enforce the dress code successfully. Without everyone being on board, it may continue to be met with defiance unless there is understanding or compromise from both parties. The first concern should be the students, not a weakly based guideline. If the administration makes changes and focuses on the main concern, everyone can strive toward a compromise to make the school live up to its mission statement.

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