How to define "offensive" in the Pasco student code of conduct
Back in November, a Pasco County elementary school student caused a stir with the racy design on his backpack. The school principal wanted to confiscate the bag, while the boy's father insisted there was nothing wrong with the depiction of a scantily clad woman atop a snake.
The dad, Fred Ferrer, suggested that the school district's policies did not prohibit the backpack, so it should be allowed.
As the school year nears its end, the district staff is seeking to clarify its dress code to avoid a similar clash going forward. The School Board is being asked to amend the code of conduct to say,
"Decorations, symbols, mottos, or designs imprinted or attached to the body,
clothing, or accessories which contain profanity in any form, violent images, images of weapons are considered vulgar, offensive to good taste or the maintenance of decorum, or which advertise tobacco, alcohol, drugs, or which identify them as members of secret anti-social groups or gangs shall not be worn to school or school functions." [Additions underlined, deletions noted with strike through]
For the secondary school version, the staff also is recommending the addition of this simple line: "Offensive designs imprinted on the body must be covered." Back in 2007, when the School Board considered a similar policy for employees, United School Employees of Pasco vice president Frank Roder posed an equally simple question: "What is acceptable? What is offensive? And where do we draw the line?"
The board ultimately approved the rule for employees, saying bosses would decide the standard.
Have you heard of any applications of this policy since? Anyone have a take on what is offensive when it comes to tattoos? Has this been a problem in Pasco schools? Let's hear your views.
(Times file photo)