BRISTOL, Connecticut, U.S.A. — The newest, most curious complication in student/teacher relations is what’s called, in hushed whispers among my skittish peers, “The Coat Policy.”
Loosely stated, this policy discourages students from wearing “coats, jackets, outerwear, or headgear” to classes during their day. Any such garments must be kept in student lockers or will be confiscated on sight.
Administrators cite many reasons for the recent crackdown in enforcement of the long-standing policy. The question “why” is there but, true to form, administration at Bristol Eastern seem to
have a hard time answering the question straight. Usually, you’ll hear, “It’s for your safety.”
Hey, I’m all for safety…but how exactly does that work, I wonder?
The timely, frightening specter of concealed weapons is most often evoked. However, if backed into a corner, they’ll even tell you that hoods, hats and even heavy sweaters harbor quick identification, inviting all sorts of seedy characters into the school to rob, rape and otherwise wreak havoc.
Well, you can’t you argue with that.
“BUT,” shriek the voices of a frustrated student body, “IT IS WINTER, ISN’T IT?!”
And, well, it IS winter.
Does frost improve test scores and morale, the poor man’s answer to playing Mozart in the background while studying studying? Somebody talk to me here….
How does one reconcile their concern that little Billy might be packing more than a bag lunch and the suffering of innocent students at the merciless hands of a New England Winter?
One answer is to have the students layer their clothing, stripping by layer when necessary and carrying the excess clothing from class to class.
Another is to simply heat the school sufficiently, thereby eliminating the need for students to bring “outerwear” to class. “Sufficiently” is, however, a subjective term in rooms with holes in their ceilings, corridors with no insulation.
I’m not an education professional, and I don’t make $100,0000 a year to come up with silly solutions like these, but does the winning answer seem obvious to anyone else?
Joe Wilbur is a Reporter for Youth Journalism International.