School’s Ridiculous Dress Code Forces Teen Battling Cancer to Remove His Cancer ‘Survivor’ Shirt
Lifestyle| | By Margo Gothelf
“I was doing my work; I was causing no disruption whatsoever,” Powers said. After the cancer survivor learned about his violation, he was given a few options. According to Today, “He was told he could spend the day in ISS (in-school suspension), call his parents for a change of clothes, or change into a shirt given to him by the school.” Powers chose to change into a blue Ridgewood High School T-shirt, yet many students and parents are upset with the school’s decision to make Powers change at all, especially given his history and the meaningful shirt. According to the school district, the teacher was simply just following the rules of the dress code when asking the 16-year-old to change. “She never noticed what was on his shirt and he ever mentioned anything about being a cancer survivor,” Linda Cobbe, spokesperson for Pasco County Schools, said. “If he had said something, she would have listened empathetically and explained to him how the logo size limit applies to all shirts and that they can’t discriminate by allowing one student to wear a special shirt.” The rule is part of the new dress code hoping to improve “academic and discipline problems at the school, including poor test scores, attendance rates and gang activity.” “The bottom line is that the school needed to take steps to get students engaged in their learning and focused on academic improvement,” Cobbe said. “Their goal is to prepare students for college, career and life, and part of that is learning that they will have to conform to dress codes established in every type of business and in every branch of the military. They looked at what schools with similar situations in nearby districts had done and found positive results in several that implemented modified dress codes.” This isn’t the first time a situation like this has happened at Ridgewood High School. One of Powers classmates wrote a letter to the principal protesting the dress code after it was instated this past October. “It’s disturbing,” Powers’ dad, Tim, told Today. “There’s nothing about the shirt that was demeaning or hateful. It’s a positive message.” He continued, “We’ve been through all of this, we’ve lived this. When kids are proud of accomplishments, they’re a positive influence on other children. There are kids who look up to him. When something like this happens, it’s almost like a slap in the face.” Hopefully Powers won’t let this mishap dampen his spirit!