MCS students sent home for short shorts

By Joe Moskowitz
Despite an ill-timed pause over the holiday weekend, temperatures are going up. But tempers and fashion at Margaretville Central School (MCS) are getting short.

Last week the thermometer shot up above 80 degrees. Many girls did what they often do this time of year and wore shorts to school. But anyone who has been in a women’s clothing store this year can tell you, shorts tend to be quite short.

MCS Building Principal Linda Taylor says she knows it was warm and the girls wanted to dress comfortably, and she says she understands that fashion has not kept up with what is considered proper for school, but she says there is a dress code and the students must comply.
Taylor, and one school employee, said she had no choice as so many teachers complained about the shortness of the shorts that day.

However, Taylor sent an e-smail to the staff that morning that said, “Please send anyone to my attention who is not dressed according to the school dress code. I am see a lot of too short shorts. Thanks, Linda Taylor.”

But the problem, according to the kids, parents, and teachers who spoke with the Catskill Mountain News is, there was no warning that the code, often ignored, would suddenly be enforced with a vengeance.

The code says that shorts, skirts, and dresses must be “fingertip length.”
Last Wednesday, between 12 and 15 girls were either called out of classrooms or hallways and taken to Taylor’s office and told to change into something appropriate like gym shorts, which tend to be longer, go home and change, or have their parents bring them something.

The next day there were only a couple of incidents, but one reportedly resulted in a very vocal showdown between Taylor and an irate parent.

One teacher told the News that a warning should have been issued earlier in the spring and classes should not have been interrupted so close to Regents and final exams
Letters containing the dress code were sent to all MCS parents on Thursday.

Taylor says if the students and their parents want the code to be changed, they should take the matter to the board of education, which is responsible for making the rules.