The Twitter post has been deleted, but a Harrison High student will likely not soon forget a photo she shared Thursday on the social networking site.
The post showed her dressed in an over-sized T-shirt emblazoned with the words "Dress Code Violation". And while one parent thinks the punishment is the wrong way to go, new principal Lawrence Straughter says he fully supports it.
He said the shirt appropriately covered the student in compliance with the school's dress code. When students are more concerned with their attire and "how much they can show", Straughter said, "that's not how we do it at Harrison. Our focus is on academics."
The shirt is "an encouragement to not violate the dress code," said Straughter, adding that even though the t-shirt preceded his tenure at the school, he supports it. "If I felt like it was shaming the student or demeaning the student, I would not support the idea."
"I hope that people see I'm not one that would like to dance around with these issues," he added. "That's not where I want to spend my time, that's not where I want administrators to spend their time, that's not where I want teachers to spend their time."
Parent Melissa Brodsky said her children showed her the Twitter photo after school on Wednesday. While she said she understands both sides of the dress code issue, she said, "to me it's the equivalent of a parent making a kid stand alongside the road with a sign saying 'I screwed up'."
She said parents should be buying, and sending their children to school in, more appropriate clothing. If a child violates the dress code, parents should be required to bring them something else to wear.
The over-sized shirt, she said, is "public shaming", even though kids may make light of it. "There's better things to put money toward than these shirts," Brodsky added.
Dress code aside, something else in the Twitter post drew Straughter's attention. He said he found a gun icon placed in the photo's caption, which complained about the "new principle", more troubling, especially given the attention nation-wide on gun violence. That's what he addressed with the student, he said, noting she appeared to be remorseful about the incident.
Straughter said he cautioned the student that what she posts on social media can affect her future, because colleges and universities may look at a student's social media profile as they are considering admissions.
"I think she heard the message, and her mother certainly heard that message," he said.