Principal mystified by first-day dress flap

By The Associated Press

CANTON — The principal of Canton High School says she doesn’t know what caused about 100 students to violate the school’s uniform policy on the first day of school.

Shirley Sanders told The Clarion-Ledger that each year students and parents receive an information packet that includes the dress code.

Last Wednesday, about 100 students received in-school suspension for wearing neon-colored shoes, neon shoe strings and other items in colors that Sanders said could have been construed as “gang related.” The students were allowed to contact their parents to bring them attire that met the code.

“That’s unusually high,” Sanders said of the number of violations. On Thursday, some students did the same thing but the number was “significantly lower.”

Canton High School has a dress code — in place for several years — requiring students to wear navy shirts, khaki pants or skirts and black or dark-colored shoes or white tennis shoes.

For the first offense, parents are notified and can bring an acceptable pair of shoes to school, and the student receives an in-school suspension for the day. A second offense brings two days of in-school suspension.

“Most of the parents are working with us,” Sanders said. “That’s always what happens. It could be a shirt, belt or whatever, but (Wednesday) it was shoes.”

Charles Smith’s daughter went to school with black and yellow Nike sneakers. When called, he brought her a different pair of shoes.

“It was kind of a simple mistake on her part,” said Smith, who supports the school policy. “If one child gets away with it, the others will follow suit.”

School officials say with the policy they hope to prevent bullying, competition and gang clashes.