There's something so terribly wrong about this: Oxford High School, a school in Calhoun County, Ala., prom dress codes are strictly enforced. Some
April 29, 2010

There's something so terribly wrong about this:

Oxford High School, a school in Calhoun County, Ala., prom dress codes are strictly enforced. Some say too strictly. This year, the Anniston Star reports that 25 students were disciplined for violating the prom dress code. The strangest part of the story, though, is that the students were allowed to stay at the prom, but the following week, they had to choose the option of receiving corporal punishment (by paddling) or a three-day suspension.

Keep in mind, these are seniors in high school. While I wouldn't be wearing the dress in the video, I wouldn't view it as too short or too low cut for a prom, but that's almost beside the point.

Dress code or not, if any school principal laid a finger on my high school daughter -- or a paddle, for that matter -- I would yank her out of that school so fast heads would spin. Yes, I know they get around it by saying there's a choice for a 3-day suspension, but I also know that a 3-day suspension can really screw up grades and standing records, especially in one's senior year. My high school sophomore daughter would be mortified at being punished for what she chose to wear to a school dance.

What message does paddling send to students, anyway? I don't see a deterrent effect when 25 kids are cited and punished for clothes their parents let them wear to a formal occasion despite the long-standing paddling policy. It just seems...bizarre.

In a day and age where schools seek parental involvement, what message is intended for parents when their son or daughter is paddled or suspended for choosing to wear something which received approval, whether tacit or outright? As a parent, I'm not going to be inclined to jump into the midst of a maelstrom of volunteerism at a school where the principal just paddled (or suspended) my almost-adult child.

I haven't even touched on the more obvious reasons why this arcane and stupid policy should die, like the obvious weirdness of administering physical blows to a student who is months away from living in an adult world where we don't "paddle" one another. Or the idea of using violence to teach lessons. Or even just the vaguely kinky sexual undertones. Or the fact that the principal is white and the student they interviewed was black.

Yes, I know it's Alabama. That's no excuse. People who are raised in Alabama do have to live in society like the rest of us. The idea of paddling any of these kids leaves me feeling a little creeped out and slimed.

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