Council Report 10/15/14

As every meeting does, today’s begins when the council approves last week’s minutes. This week, however, the arrangement of the room is different. Some people are not happy with this.

Two weeks prior, council passed a motion to allocate $125 for securing an MLK day speaker. It turns out that the school has a fund for this sort of thing, so it will not be necessary. Next, the sub committees reported, nothing of particular interest.

Debate spins up quickly, discussing the motion related to the lost and found. Points raised relate to whether the day that the items are donated to the haven is announced ahead of time, or if a concrete date should be set for the transport. Confusion around whether items are moved on a specific date, or after a period of time. Madame Doyle clarifies that Bonnie has a system of three shelves, with items from the current week on one shelf, the prior week on the second shelf, and something missing for three weeks on the bottom shelf, dispelling the worry that items lost on the date of the transfer would never be claimed. After this clarification, the council struck down the amendment to have the transfer at the end of the quarter, and passed it in its original form.

“I move that lost and found items will be taken to the Haven after three weeks unclaimed”.

Next, a discussion is raised as to the council’s accountability after a motion is passed. Chessie Newbold was under the impression that motions died out after being passed by council, but Max Greenwald refuted this, saying that the only motions that die off are the ones that aren’t any good. He did admit that some motions, like the homework assignment one, are hard to maintain since they depend so much upon other people’s communication. The discussion then meandered over to the student body’s awareness about motions passed by council. Ben Chaimberg reminded council members that it’s their responsibility to let everyone know about it. The process of the motions is that after a motion is passed by Council, if Mr. Campbell approves, it becomes part of the de facto law of the school, unless it is vetoed by the school board.

Lily Cadow returned the discussion to the order of the day, the issue of a dress code.

HHS Personal Appearance Policy

Appropriateness of dress during the school day conveys an attitude of seriousness and respect toward academics, ourselves, and others.  Clothing that is appropriate for the school day does not interfere with instruction by distracting others.  Our dress guidelines embody the school’s mission statement, which refers to students becoming “caring and responsible adults” who “respect and care for the emotional and physical well-being of themselves and others.”  The following are practical and fair guidelines for dress, which also recognize the importance of individual choice and reasonable differences in students’ fashions.  The following guidelines are to be encouraged while students are on school property during school hours:

  • Clothing that contains words or graphics referring to alcoholic beverages, illegal drugs, and tobacco should not be worn.
  • Clothing with obscene or sexual references in words or graphics should not be worn.
  • Students must wear sufficient clothing so that no bare skin or underwear is visible in the front or back of the torso from the upper chest to below the buttocks.
  • Footwear is required.

If a member of the staff feels that a student is not complying with the policy, he or she may ask the student to change clothes.  The staff member may also refer the student to the Dean of Students.  The student may be required to change clothes or to have clothes brought from home.  Repeated offenses may be considered “Refusal to Follow the Reasonable Instructions of an Adult” (see page 19).

“JJ” raises the issue that the ambiguous wording of “distracting” is dangerous in a school dress code. A large … rose when the issue of gender was brought up. This author’s honest opinion is that male students generally don’t wear tiny skirts and sparkly tops. Just sayin’. Ms. Caldwell suggests that respect is the core issue, and that it should be able to start an open conversation about appropriate dress. Mrs. Murray tells us that she is often asked to talk to students about inappropriate dress. Mr. Smith told us that in surrounding schools, yoga pants are banned and that such a ban is unlikely at Hanover, but he brought it up to remind those present that the HHS dress code is not draconian by any standard. As debate continued, allegations of sexism were systematically reduced to the fact that people choose what clothes to wear, and the dress code targets clothing, not people. The one glaring discrepancy was that boys whose boxers stick out over their pants are rarely reprimanded, although it is a clear violation of the dress code.

The council then adjourned, but with much protest. Never before have I seen so many people vote against adjourning, albeit unsuccessfully.

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