No shoes, no school, no sympathy

By Megan Resler

Several students took part in an event last Thursday aimed at bringing awareness and empathy to impoverished third world countries. The event, networked through Facebook, required students to walk barefoot through the halls.

That didn’t go over well, however, with school officials.

The dress expectations of the student handbook state that “as a matter of health and safety, everyone must be fully clothed, including shoes or sandals and shirts. Students who do not dress according to the dress code will be asked to change or be sent home.”

While shoes are specifically addressed in the MTHS dress code, the Edmonds School District policy does not require that shoes be worn during school hours, only that dress not “create a health or other hazard to the student’s safety or to the safety of others.”

However, ESD has developed a series of three steps outlined for individual school’s administrations to discipline students who violate the dress code. The steps include: If the student’s dress or grooming is objectionable under these provisions, the principal shall request the student make appropriate corrections. If the student refuses, the principal shall notify the parent and request that person to make the necessary correction. If the student continues to refuse, the principal shall take appropriate corrective action. Students may be suspended if circumstances so warrant.

“In fourth period, a classmate of mine wasn’t wearing shoes,” sophomore Hunter Goncalves said. “I asked why not, and he told me about the event to bring awareness to third world countries. I thought it was cool and took off my shoes. During second lunch, (educational assistant) Jerry (Myers) told me to put my shoes back on, I said okay and to hang on. A few minutes later Jerry and (Assistant Principal Scott) Morrison come by and take me to the office. I was sentenced to two lunch detentions.”

Morrison sent out an email to teachers asking them to remind students that bare feet are against the health and dress codes. It is difficult to determine the exact impact upon student awareness and empathy for impoverished nations, but not everyone was satisfied with the demonstration.

“My feet just got cold,” Goncalves said.