Way back in the Pleistocene, when I was a teen-ager, I went to Stuyvesant High School. Stuy had some reasonable rules (like don’t bring alcohol to Excursion Day), and the students did our best to get around those rules (vodka injected into whole oranges was one memorable solution). But one thing we could rely on was that our school trusted us to dress ourselves appropriately.
When I got to college, I was HORRIFIED at the stories my friends told of fighting their schools’ dress codes, “Why aren’t we allowed to wear shorts of this length if the cheerleaders are wearing their skirts that much shorter?” and other such battles. And somehow, the dress code is always aimed at young women.
Well, it turns out that Stuyvesant has seen fit to institute a dress code this year. And once again, it’s aimed at girls, and it’s applied arbitrarily. When I attended Stuy, the present principal was a Physics teacher, and Dr. Greyson taught Civil and Criminal Law as an elective (which I took, and which, by the way, they still offer). I do sincerely think it’s a pity that Principal Teitel either has not taken the course, or doesn’t understand it, since the description of the class reads,
Who should take this course?
Any student who wishes to explore current legal issues, who wishes to explore the basic legal concepts underlying the civil system, who may be thinking of law as a career or who wishes to understand his/her rights and obligations as a citizen should take this course.
What will we be studying?
The difference between civil and criminal law. Understanding the role of the lawyer in society. Torts, First Amendment Law, Discrimination Law, Sexual Harassment. There will be an in-class trial.
What will be expected of me?
Major emphasis is on class participation and a willingness to tackle problems inherent in dispensing civil justice.
How is the course taught?
Lecture, class discussion, debates.
What are the completion requirements?
Excellent note taking and critical thinking. Six tests per term including take home exams.
Details and pre/co-requisites:
This one term course is open to sophomores, juniors and seniors. It is offered during the spring term.
Now contrast that with the experiences of some of the students,
I have been stopped to justify my clothing many, many times since the beginning of this school year, and nine out of 10 times, I wasn’t breaking the dress code. I’ve been told that even though my skirts were technically acceptable, they were still too short for me to wear, and once it was suggested that I should follow a separate dress code, wherein my skirts should end at least four inches past my fingertips, and preferably at my knees…
When I took Dr. Greyson’s course, there was an emphasis on the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment. Principal Teitel, I’m not seeing Equal Protection being applied here.
As I noted above, Stuyvesant students are intelligent and highly resourceful. I am sure that the current student body will come up with a smart, incisive, and extremely practical way to demonstrate to the administration that the dress code should be abandoned.