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Spartan Law

Posted 01/27/2009 by Vince Crespin

TJ behavioral committee to step up guidelines for student behavior.

law_smallAs students adjust to their new schedules and the second semester, Thomas Jefferson’s student body must re-adapt to having the rules more strictly enforced.

Lani Nobles, an assistant principal in charge of discipline at TJ, has seen many of the more common rules being broken or ignored since returning from the holidays. Becoming more aware of the lack of respect for the basic discipline code, Nobles sent out an e-mail to the entire staff asking them to more strictly implement the six rules deemed most important by the administrators:

1: Take off all headwear while in the building.

No hats (including burger king crowns), du rags, bandannas, headbands shower caps or any other kind of head wear are to be worn within the school. “This is just a simple matter of respect. Wearing things on your head, while in a building, is a sign of disrespect for those inhabiting the building. It also has to do with distractions.  If Johnny takes Alex’s hat, and makes a production about it, people aren’t focusing in class. At times, I have even seen it cause a fight,” said Nobles, who also points out that this is a district policy that must be strictly enforced.

2: Be on time to class (unexcused tardies should have a pass from Steve Thomas in the pass room)
This includes tardiess to first period if a student has not been called in. “It’s simple: kids just need to be in class. If they aren’t, they miss the introduction to the class for that day.  It also interrupts the instructors because it distracts them while they are trying to teach, and that further means you are disrespecting your classmates because you are interrupting their learning. It is just not a good situation,” said Nobles.

3: Pull up those pants!
No sagging is allowed, and consequences will be greater for each time a student has to be told to hike his/her pants up. “This was started in prisons as a way of rebellion to the authority within the facility. We just don’t want our students conducting themselves like that,” said Nobles, who also points out that this rule also covers following all of the dress code.

4: All electronics should be out of sight.
Students are not allowed to use electronics during school hours, under any circumstances. “We have no problem with students using their cell phones or MP3 players during lunch or before and after school.  We just don’t want to see them during passing periods or in class. We don’t enjoy taking them from kids. We don’t like having to call the parents in from work just to give it back to them. Also, if you don’t have it out all the time, kids won’t know you own something worth stealing, therefore reducing how many thefts we have in the school,” states Nobles.

5: Use acceptable language at all times in school.
The administration wants students to watch their language, to not use racial slurs or put down others with vulgar language. “The staff is just sick of hearing our kids refer to each other as the “N” word, or any other racial epithet. This includes not using words referring to homosexuality, religion and sexual discrimination.  Some of the language used in the hallways is just unacceptable,” said Nobles, who feels that students should conduct their language at school the same way they would at work or at church, or any other place of respect.

6: All students must have passes to be in the hallway during class. Use planners.
Students who are in the hallways during class must have a pass signed by their instructor for that period. “This is simply to make sure we don’t confuse the kids who are going to the bathroom with the kids who are truant. We just want the kids to have proof they are doing what they are supposed to do,” says Nobles. She suggests that students use their planners, which have an area for hall passes, built in.

As the year progresses, the students will have to readjust to the new levels of what is expected of them. “These rules are not meant as a power trip. We just want people who visit the building to know that all of our students are quality kids, not kids who are disrespectful and rowdy. We want the expectation to be that kids treat their teachers and fellow students with respect. You should act and dress at school like you would for church or a job interview,” states Nobles.