Schools ban clothing, crosses, Bibles, more
by Rudy M. Enteri
TEXAS CITY, Texas — When 8th-grader Christian Thompson was suspended last month for wearing a Catholic cross at Blocker Middle School, he was incredulous. But he shouldn't have been surprised. Schools across the nation have been expanding their lists of banned items and activities, and many of them prohibit the wearing of jewelry, hair styles and various kinds of clothing.
Most schools in America ban a select list of items, such as fluorescent pink hair or U.S. flag t-shirts, but officials at New District High School in San Fernando, California, prohibited everything that other students, teachers or parents might find objectionable. Considered the "most politically correct school in the nation," New District adopted a ban that is so broad that it led to a prohibition of clothing, jewelry and even hair. Consequently, the school board during its April meeting voted to shorten the school's name to New Dist High.
Principal Polly Andrus said the clothing ban has been supported by a majority of parents in San Fernando, where about 90 percent of pornography in the United States is produced.
"Our parents have no problem with kids not wearing clothes," she said. "But they have a big problem with kids wearing conservative hair styles, carrying cultist books such as the Bible, or wearing crosses. It was an easy call just to ban everything, including all clothing, all jewelry and all hair."
San Fernando School Board President Gladys C. Hughe said parent support has been tremendous since the board instituted its Comprehensive List of Unapproved Expressions, Language, Extremisms, Snacks and Symbols (CLUELESS).
"Our parents have been supporting us like crazy," she said. "We've been selling out all our school plays and athletic events, which has been a godsend for our budget. Even the usually unpopular athletic events such as lacrosse and pingpong are packed. We've never seen so many parents volunteer as aides, particularly the fathers.
"And we've had no trouble recruiting the very best teachers; in fact, they've been volunteering."
PTA President Liv N. Wilder said the clothing ban began after the Legislature directed school districts to prohibit gang colors, religious symbols and political expressions.
"The list of gang colors pretty well included all the colors in the rainbow," she said.
CLUELESS committee member Sawyer B. Hind said colors that are identified with gangs in California include blue, red, white, gray, black, gold, orange, brown and green.
"That pretty well left us with pink and purple," he said, "but then a new gang, the Gay Kings, adopted those colors, which left us no choice but to ban all clothing."
Hind said it was a simple solution that also eliminated controversies over other clothing prohibitions that the school had considered, such as wearing shirts with the Confederate flag, cowboy boots that have been associated with racist rednecks, head scarves, baseball hats adorned with the logos of teams that practiced racism before Jackie Robinson, denim jeans with holes in the knees, low-slung trousers, patriotic clothing and veils.
School District Superintendent Offeh Menazzi said an exception to the clothing ban will take place during Woman's History Month. Following the example of a school in New Jersey, she decided to require all students to wear women's clothing during March.
Menazzi said the district surveyed schools nationwide to determine other bans that could make sense. Other than clothing, the most common bans dealt with hair styles. Some schools prohibited spiked hair, but San Fernando officials had a difficult time writing an equitable definition.
Hart Burne, the attorney for the school district, wrote a regulation that defined spiked hair as "a hairstyle that features groups of 10 or more individual hairs drawn together at angles more acute than 19 degrees, including the base of each group." The district rejected the definition as unworkable, saying few teachers understood acute angles and lacked the necessary protractors and expertise to measure them.
Burne also wrote a regulation that prohibited artificial hair coloring, but most of the female teachers objected, saying they would not enforce a regulation that they themselves did not obey.
The district considered several other hair style prohibitions, such as butches on girls, long locks on boys, and hair styles that are not commonly associated with a student's own race or national origin. Officials wanted to prevent white students from wearing their hair in African-American braids, but then some minorities complained that such a rule would keep them from wearing their hair in a manner similar to styles worn by most Caucasians.
P.C. Wright, a Socialist Studies teacher who served on the committee, said the group eventually decided the simplest solution was to require students to shave all hair off at least weekly.
"Some complained that this was a symbol of white supremacy," he said, "but I pointed out that most bald people do not support neo-Nazis, so beginning April 1 all students were required to shave. At first they thought it was an April Fool's joke, but when the teachers shaved, they realized we were serious. Luckily, I'm already bald.
Donna Savy English, who teaches migrant students, said watches cannot be made of gold, "a symbol of European conquests of aboriginal Americans," or bear commercial logos, "such as Mickey Mouse, a symbol of capitalism run amuck."
Wearing rosary beads is grounds for expulsion. "Choose the Right" rings that are commonly worn by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are banned, as are WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) bracelets favored by some Baptists. Crosses are prohibited.
New Dist High School Assistant Principal Childe A. Beusser said crosses are a symbol of torture, genocidal oppression and death and are, hence, illegal to display as part of the prohibitions that resulted from the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School, Colorado. Ever since, authorities have been cracking down on students who draw, write short stories about, or wear symbols of death and torture.
The library has been sanitized with all politically incorrect or offensive books, tapes and movies removed. The Bible was among the first to go, said librarian Rita Booke, because it contained not only sexually explicit passages regarding Solomon, David and Onan but also language that denigrated non-Jewish races.
"We found that the G word — gentile ̵ is pervasive in this controversial book," she said.
Following examples of other schools, New Dist banned Anne Frank's diary; Huck Finn and other racist books; dictionaries, including Merriam-Webster, if they contain definitions of private body parts and sex; Ray Bradbury's book on censorship; any book dealing with ghosts, witches or fairies, including the Harry Potter series; To Kill a Mockingbird; all books by political extremists, including all those by Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity; biographies dealing with capitalists, such as Thomas Edison and Elvis Presley; books promoting religion and morals; works by racists, such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson; writings that make men or women look stupid, and any magazine showing women in suggestive clothing or in clothing that covers so much of the body that it symbolizes religious repression; and volumes about creationism or the creations or acts of God.
Booke said the only items left in the library are President Barack Obama's Dreams From My Father, his The Audacity of Hope, and The Origin of the Species by Charles Darwin.
"Nobody around here disagrees with President Obama on anything," Booke said. "Either that or they're too afraid or embarrassed to say anything."
No soda pop is sold on school grounds in order to comply with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's decree though vending machines dispense high-protein drinks, some of which are rumored to contain the sort of anabolic steroids that gave Schwarzenegger his outsize muscles and his resulting career in the public eye.
Among the banned foods at the school are Class I, Class II and Class III harmful foods as defined by Michelle Obama and her ObamaFare nutrition committee. The only foods that may be consumed on campus are water, tofu, alfalfa sprouts and lawn grass. The only animal product classified as healthful by ObamaFare are two ocean fish, pollock and whiting, but no animal products are permitted in the San Fernando school system due to opposition from parents who believe animal rights trump human rights. No snacks are available in snack vending machines, which have been refilled with bags of alfalfa sprouts.
"We don't want fat kids who eat Oreos and cheese," diet supervisor Kandi Apple said.
Lunchroom supervisor Thurston Unger said no talking is allowed during lunch because noisy students could prevent rescuers from hearing choking students. The silence policy has the added benefits of preventing controversies over politics as well as complaints and possible subsequent riots over the tastelessness of the food. Students may not leave school grounds to eat lunch.
"The school lunch costs taxpayers money," chief food server Melba Crisp said. "There's no such thing as a free lunch, and there's no such thing as free speech, either."
Also prohibited at the school are cell phones, body piercings, tattoos, homework, violent games such as tag, kick the can and dodgeball, football (because the players aren't allowed to wear pads or helmets), shake hands or perform cartwheels.
Parents who object to these rules will not have the option of home schooling due to a recent court ruling, said school district attorney Noah Lott, "so they might as well get used to it."
No Christmas cards or Valentine's cards are permitted. Halloween costumes, naturally, are not permitted, and no holiday celebrations with any racial or religious overtones are allowed with two exceptions. While Christmas celebrations of any kind are impermissible and no nativity scenes may be placed on school grounds, menorahs are permitted during Hannukah and the Islamic star is allowed during Ramadan.
All children are accepted at our school with the exception of those whose parents are bigots, said admissions counselor Sasha Klotz.
To comply with rules of political correctness, the school's mascot has been changed from the Braves to the Tofu Chunks.
"We welcome all the new rules and stuff," said Student Body President Lois Deena Menadir said. "We know like the real world is one where like which only people who are like experienced, you know, in politically correct stuff like that can like succeed, you know, and get to do good things like that, you know."
Quote of the Day
“The two pillars of 'political correctness' are: a) willful ignorance,
b) a steadfast refusal to face the truth”. — George McDonald.