EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


September 28, 2012

Timberlane wages silly war over a girl's sleeve length


Justifiably frightened, the teenager took her campaign out of social media and into a written petition, asking the School Board to reconsider the dress code.

Two weeks later, she made a thoughtful presentation to the School Board. A committee has been charged with reviewing the dress code. Skerry said she’s not optimistic anything will change.

But something already has. A student, who aspires to a legal career some day, suffered an injustice and decided to do something about it. Part of educating young adults is teaching them to question, to challenge, to act. It would seem Timberlane — or Skerry’s parents — have done a good job there.

As for Skerry ruining her chances for further education or employment, it sounds as though she has the fodder for a winning application essay right here.

Timberlane officials are right to expect students to dress appropriately, but banning sleeveless shirts goes too far.

Administrators might do well to turn their attention instead to behavior that actually does threaten students’ ability to learn. Last year, Plaistow police responded to 10 drug-related calls at the school. So far this year, there have been eight, so that number will likely top last year’s total.

Principal Woodworth and other administrators ought to focus less on minutiae like measuring a girl’s sleeve length and more on fostering an atmosphere of community and learning.

In this case, it sounds like the principal — er, principle — of the thing.



Text Only | Photo Reprints

Helium debate
Political News