Riot May Not be Best Way to Protest Dress Code

Students at Murry Bergtraum High School in lower Manhattan are planning a riot the first day of school in protest of the new dress code and uniform. But this may not be the best approach.

Many students are opposed to the idea of a uniform and believe that a riot is the only way to show the principal that they will not wear it.

The new policy (burgundy, navy and white collared shirts, with khaki or grey slacks) was announced with a flier at the end of the 2011 school year by Dr. Andrea Lewis, the principal. This is her second year at the school and has ordered the dress code to improve the learning environment for the 3,00o students at the school. 

One student created a Facebook event to join his classmates into rioting with him in response.

“In organizing a riot, I was planning to do two things. The more obvious thing was to not have uniform, but the underlying message was that we don’t need uniforms because …it has no effect on the school at all,” said Danny Hoang Vo, 16

Students attempted this same form of protest last December when they were locked out of the bathrooms for the entire day. Students sent out mass text messages to organize themselves.

During the riot, hundreds of students ran the hallways making excessive noise and putting other students in danger. It was impossible to walk in hallways and one wheelchair bound student was trapped in the stairwell.

All the students accomplished was running around like a bunch of wild animals and attracting bad press.

However, rioting is not the only way to protest, there are much safer and reasonable ways to get the students voices heard.

One thing students could do is organize a sit-in, or sit-out in this case, where a large number of students could stay home or come to school and refuse to go in until the dress code is lifted. Instead of causing destruction to school property, creating an unsafe environment and putting students and faculty in danger, a sit out is another effective way of protesting.

Showing the administration that the students can gather themselves in an orderly fashion, would be much more respectable. It would also make the faculty more willing to talk to and negotiate with the students.

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