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Making a Difference stories


The story dispelled rumors, confirmed facts

by Hillary deVoss

A teacher’s death can send shockwaves throughout a school community, leading to panic, confusion and rumors.

To student journalists at duPont Manual High School in Louisville, Ky., a beloved teacher’s unexpected death was a call for them to respond to a crisis – and do so quickly.

“When we published, this was the most-read story on our site for the entire calendar year thus far, as well as the whole school year,” student editor Piper Hansen said. “The story made a difference by dispelling rumors and confirming what few facts we had at the time.”

The staff at Manual Redeye, advised by James Miller, continued to update the story as more details unfolded.

Follow the story here

Reporting unequal dress code enforcement leads to rule change

Dress codes can be a hot topic in schools, but Jadaysia Carr, a student journalist for The Daily Nighthawk at Northfield (Colo.) High School made an observation:

“I noticed that it was affecting a lot of our women of color at school,” she said. “By writing this piece I was able to spark conversation and a couple of weeks later the dress code had been changed to make it fair for all students.”

Find the story, as written, below:

Is the dress code fair for all?
Does the policy target certain students?

By Samina Tave, Kiona Gibbs and Jadaysia Carr

Dress codes has always point of contention in schools where you don’t have to wear a uniform. Although everyone has an opinion about these policies, there are people who are more passionate about it such as women and students of color because the policies tend to target them more so than other student groups.

In the student and parent handbook Northfield states that the purpose of the dress code is to, “create a professional and respectful environment in preparation for the future.”

For this reason, “Northfield has developed a Dress Code with district guidelines to support a safe, disruption-free and appropriate learning environment for all.” Despite this, many believe that it is more directed towards girls than boys. Others argue that keeping girls from showing their shoulders and stomach is reasonable. Our dress code does prohibit boys at Northfield from sagging their pants and showing their underwear. 

With such conflicting, strong perceptions of our dress code policy, we here at The Daily Nighthawk have set out to report on the wide spectrum of opinions from the students and staff of Northfield who are affected by the dress code.

Here’s what some of the students had to say:

Female Senior – “It’s a bit sexist & too much…certain limitations should be set. It’s like a superiority complex.” 

Many female students at Northfield High School are frustrated with the dress code policy because they don’t feel like they’re able to come to school wearing what they feel comfortable in.

A common issue that has been brought up is if administration enforces the dress code equally, girls seem to be targeted by the dress code policies more than the guys are. Many can agree that the dress code is necessary for regulating how short in length the pants can be for the women or how much skin should be exposed in the school environment but on the other hand ladies feel like it is their right to be able to express themselves through their clothing.  

Male Senior- “I believe it’s offensive for girls who fill their clothes more, but for me as a guy it doesn’t matter to me.”

Many of the males at school don’t feel like the dress code affects them at all. Most of the boys we talked to actually wanted the girls at school to demonstrate body positivity and wear what they feel comfortable in but in a respectful way. 

Female Junior- “It’s not enforced correctly upon everyone. They tried to send me home for a rip on my knee…we don’t need to dress professionally right now.”

This has been a common issue ever since school started this year. Girls around the school are upset that they were sent home the first couple of weeks from school due to having rips in their jeans. They argued that by sending them home for what they were wearing took away from their learning experience at school and that it becomes more of a distraction in the classroom when the teachers stop to address what they are wearing.

In response to the uproar of Northfield students change was needed to keep the school a positive learning space. The Northfield Cabinet (which is made up of mainly teacher and admin members) unanimously decided to vote for revised dress code that could work for everybody. 

With the approval from the Collaborative School Committee (CSC)( mainly made up of parents, teachers, and administration) , the school has recently come up with a updated dress code that fits everyone’s standards a bit more. An example of some of the changes that were made includes wearing tops that meet the bottom of your pants and not having undergarments showing through mesh or fishnet types of material and so on.

Another thing that has changed was the rules on ripped jeans. Ripped jeans are allowed to be worn but there can be no rips on the back of the legs and rips can not be too big. Pictures were shown on Monday and Tuesday to show what is acceptable and what is not.

We wanted to talk to Mr. Carter, Northfield’s newest Assistant Principal, on why it was important that these changes to the dress code were made. “It was important for us to make some changes to the dress code because as we looked at how the dress code was affecting our students, it was overwhelmingly affecting our young ladies especially our young ladies of color.” He continued to say,”I was really proud of the fact that our kids used their voice and spoke up about (the dress code). Your voices needed to be heard.” 

Many would agree that the new dress code policy was a win for all the people at Northfield. During this time, students were able to come together and talk with administration about how the dress code affected them and how we could still regulate the dress code in a different way that was fair for all.

Additionally, if you are looking to be more involved in making important decisions and a positive change at Northfield the Northfield administration is looking for more student participation and a grade level representative to join the Collaborative School Committee. Let your voices be heard! 

For more Making a Difference articles, go here, here and here.

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