Dress code — that perpetual controversy at Bloomfield High School — already stirs the blood of parents, teachers and students there this year. And there’s no shortage of ink on the subject at NJ.com’s Bloomfield Forum. At issue, selective enforcement. Second period teachers are in charge of reporting dress violations. Some care, some don’t. And it’s easy enough for students to get by the ban on long shirts by tucking them in for one class. “They leave second period,” said one parent. “And they morph back into teenagers.”

Says a poster called “insource” on the NJ.com message board:

This whole thing is going to implode by the end of SEPT… This issuse is going to the board through town-wide liaison and by the union directly. Keep your ears open at the next board meeting this is going to be the big topic.

Another writer, whose handle is BeauBrummel, suggests civil disobedience:

Pick a day and on that day every kid dressed “in violation” of the code gets sent to the office. Inundate the office with 1800 kids wearing short skirts or baggy tee-shirts. (this option works only if every teacher participates.) Then let the BOE deal with the fallout of 1800 parents calling, visiting and emailing.

Separately, don’t be surprised if you see the subject of cell phones come up at tonight’s meeting (they’re banned, and some parents worry about the need for them in an emergency). Also likely to surface: last Friday’s evacuation of Bloomfield High School over a strong gas smell, which was feared to be a natural gas leak but turned out to be a construction-related accident involving a leak of hyraulic fluid. PSE&G checked out the smell, and declared the school safe within half an hour. Still, parents worried about construction safety issues are likely to raise concerns.
School super Thomas Dowd did not return our call.

7 replies on “Dress Code”

  1. Having cell phones in one’s possession is banned?? (How do the authorities find out?!)
    THAT sounds just plain wrawng.
    Now, prohibitiing the *use* of them, on school property — except in case of emergency, of course — sounds reasonable.

  2. Our BOE policy confuses cell phones with pagers (remote activated paging devices). The latter were banned from schools in the mid-80s by state statute; still are illegal. Cell phones are not covered by the statute, though Bloomfield apparently interprets it as though beepers and cell are one in the same.
    Last year, my friend’s son lost his cell phone – which he figures fell out of his pocket while buying lunch 8th (yes, 8th) period. The next day, he went to lost & found and his phone was there, but they would not return it to him. His father had to come to school and sign a paper admitting his son’s phone had been “confiscated” (it had not) and that if the kid brought it to school again the student/parent could have charges filed against them!! The paper represents itself to be jointly from the school district and the Bloomfield police department.
    IMHO, if the district wants to say ‘no’ to cell phones, they need to rewrite their policy wherein they accept responsibility for that ‘no’. It’s wrong to misrepresent a state statute.

  3. School Cellphone Bans Topple
    (You Can’t Suspend Everyone)
    Published: September 29, 2004
    … hundreds of high schools have reluctantly agreed to relax their rules about cellphones in schools. Rather than banning the phones outright, as many once did, they are capitulating to parent demands and market realities, and allowing students to carry phones in school – though not to use them in class. The reversal is a significant change from policies of the 1990’s, when school administrators around the country viewed cellphones as the tools of drug dealers. In Florida, carrying a cellphone in school could be punishable by a 10-day suspension. In Louisiana, it was deemed a crime, with a potential penalty of 30 days in jail.
    But now the phones have become tools used by parents to keep in touch with, and keep track of, their children. And schools are facing a more basic reality: it is no longer possible to enforce such bans.
    More at:

  4. “[they are now] allowing students to carry phones in school – though not to use them in class.”
    Well of course; that makes perfect — double-good — sense!

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