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Clothing Worn by a Social Group in My Area

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  • turpinrs2001@yahoo.com
    I currently substitute teach in the East Chicago, Indiana public school system. The schools require a quasi-uniform of the students, in order to prevent
    Message 1 of 3 , Feb 28, 2001
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      I currently substitute teach in the East Chicago, Indiana public
      school system. The schools require a quasi-uniform of the students,
      in order to prevent students with gang affiliation from advertising
      same. I have attached a scanned copy of the policy, which gives its
      own reasons, some of which I think are slightly inflated as to effect
      (school spirit). In addition, kerchiefs worn around the head are
      banned (gang sign), and students of both sexes are required to remove
      hats/headgear inside the school building. There was recently a spat
      with a junior high student and parent, both practitioners of Wykka
      (sp?), because the student had some jewelry with a pentagram. For
      her the pentagram had religious significance, and she wanted to wear
      it on Wykka holy days, at least. For school administrators, the
      pentagram is gang sign, and prohibited. The parent and student
      agreed to voluntary compliance with the policy, and did not pursue
      the threat to their religious freedom.

      Here's some background on gangs in my area, and on my area. East
      Chicago, Indiana occupies approximately 13.5 square miles. About 9
      of those miles are the property of heavy industry and its support
      businesses, the remainder is available for humans. The neighborhood
      I live in was built in 1918 as housing for workers in a now defunct
      steel mill called Mark Manufacturing. It was designed by Chicago
      establishment architect Howard van Dorn Shaw to resemble an English
      village, which it pretty much does. The neighborhood is still called
      Marktown, and is surrounded on 3 sides by steel mills, on the 4th
      side by an oil refinery (the oldest continuously operating refinery
      on this particular planet) and on all sides by the almost
      unimaginable stupidity and 19th century style corruption of the East
      Chicago political machine.

      Our resident gang is a branch of the 415, which aficionados may
      recognize as originally an Oakland, CA gang: 415 was the area code
      for their neighborhood. How it came to be here I can't say, and
      there's not much point in asking the local `bangers' or `wanna-
      be's'. They can only tell you that the gang is here, it's always
      been here (that last is, clearly, not true). Drug-wise, East Chicago
      and surrounding townships are divided up pretty precisely – Marktown
      has the `weed' franchise. There is no `crack' here. Which is nice.
      In between July 4th picnics, there is almost no evidence of guns.

      The younger gang members and `wanna-be's' patrol the neighborhood in
      all weather, but in the winter their clothing is only distinguishable
      by its somber colors from the general run, owing to compromises with
      their parents financial abilities, and with the severe weather
      characteristic of "`da Region". In summer the gang `uniform' can be
      clearly distinguished. The boys wear black oversized pants and black
      oversized tee-shirts featuring some of the more obnoxious punk groups
      or rappers. Underneath the tee-shirts the pants ride low, so that the
      wearer may flash some "Appalachian cleavage", should he desire to
      express contempt at any time. They also wear neckerchiefs, usually
      around their necks, but sometimes tied in a sort of turban around
      their heads. The oversized clothing is intended to conceal weapons --
      which in this neighborhood only their fathers can afford -- also
      cell phones, beepers and laser pointers. More precisely, the
      clothing is intended to convey that the wearer may have any or all of
      these things, so watch out for him! Their shoes also appear to be
      oversized, featuring a kind of built-in platform, or possibly an air
      cartridge.

      The girls are not gang members, but those that "hang with the
      bangers" have their own uniform: they wear incredibly short, tight
      black skirts, platform shoes, skimpy blouses and large amounts of
      gold jewelry. Their hair is very long (the boys' is very short),
      usually straight and without adornment. However, there may be a
      small braid, or a few silky bangs.

      I infer from the "Uniformity of Colors Policy" that East Chicago
      School City has decided to fight fire with fire. Gangs are not
      dangerous because boys may play with fire. They're dangerous because
      some group of adults somewhere else profits from that play, and funds
      that fire. Schools that enforce their own uniform code are making
      the statement that they are the biggest gang in town. You must be in
      school (in our gang), and you must wear our colors while you are
      here. Please note the colors: red, white and blue. We don't just
      parade, we enforce! The result, combined with a slowing economy, has
      been to push the age of Initiation up slightly (if they're still in
      school, they're still just `wanna-be's'). This is good.






      Uniformity of Colors
      Policy School
      City of East Chicago



      Over the past several years, many parents and community members have
      urged the School City of East Chicago to adopt a Uniformity of Color
      Policy as a means of countering the influence of gangs, minimizing
      disruption and improving the learning envíronment.

      In response the Board of School Trustees on May 20, 1998 officially
      adopted a mandatory Uniformity of Color Policy for all students
      attending the East Chicago Public Schools. Our schools have the
      fundamental responsibiiity of teaching and acquiring academic
      achievement for all students; individual schools cannot do this job
      alone. The policy of the Board of School Trustees can make their
      tasks easier but if we are to succeed, it will take a total
      commitment from parents, students, teachers and community.

      The Board of School Trustees believes that the adoption of a
      mandatory Uniforrnity of Color Poiicy at the elementary, junior, and
      senior high schools will simplify proper dress for school
      attendance. We know that dress significantly influences behavior.
      In our schools, we have seen its influence on dress up days and
      school spirit days. We have also seen in the schools that have
      adopted the Uniformity of Colors a "coming together", greater school
      pride, and better behavior, in and out of the classroom. Moreover,
      with the elimination of gang attire, all of the students at these
      sites are safer, and less intímidated or threatened.

      The mandatory Uniformity of Color Poiicy is defined as follows:

      Solid Navy blue 'bottoms". (No logos or insignias other than offícial
      recognized designer labeis) Navy blue pants, appropriately sized (no
      baggy/saggy pants,) skirts, skorts, culottes, jumpers, and knee
      length or longer shorts. Jeans, sweat pants, nylon athletic pants
      and/or spandex wear will not be acceptable at any time.

      Solid Navy blue, Red, or White "tops" sweaterslsweatshirts. .(No
      logos or insignias other than official recognized designer labels)
      Solid color navy blue, red, or white long or short-sleeved shirts or
      blouses, with collars, polo shirts, T-shirts (not undershirts,)
      turtlenecks and solid navy blue, red or white sweater/sweatshirts.

      Solid colors Navy blue, Red, White or Black dress or athletic shoes.
      (No logos or insignias other than official recognized designer
      labels) Belts, shoes and shoelaces must be solid color.

      Student's failure to comply with the above Uniformity of Color Poiicy
      will lead to the following disciplinary actions:

      FIRST INFRACTION - Phone parent, sign district letter, student uses
      district Uniforrnity of Colors, letter sent if parent is not
      contacted. STUDENT PECEIVES ONE (1) DETENTION. (Jr. & Sr. High
      School student receives one-day in-school suspension)

      SECOND INFRACTION - Phone parent, sign district letter, parent must
      conference with building principal or designee, student uses district
      Uniformity of Colors, letter is sent if parent is not contacted.
      STUDENT WILL NOT BE ALLOWED ADMISSION TO SCHOOL WITHOUT PARENT
      CONFERENCE WITH THE BUILDING PRINCIPAL tor Principai's designee).
      STUDENT RECEIVES TWO (2) DETENTIONS. (Jr. & Sr. High School student
      receives two days in-school suspension)

      THIRD INFRACTION - AUTOMATIC ONE DAY HOME SUSPENSION. With the
      student retuming the following day properly clothed in Uniformity of
      Colors apparel.

      Additional information regarding the Uniformity of Color Policy can
      be obtained from the building principal
    • Rae Deslich
      Sorry, I hate to nitpick, but I have a few questions here... ... The *pentagram* is a gang sign? Since when, and where? Although Wicca may be classified
      Message 2 of 3 , Mar 1 1:02 AM
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        Sorry, I hate to nitpick, but I have a few questions here...

        --- In CostumeHistoryClass@y..., turpinrs2001@y... wrote:
        > hats/headgear inside the school building. There was recently a spat
        > with a junior high student and parent, both practitioners of Wykka
        > (sp?), because the student had some jewelry with a pentagram. For
        > her the pentagram had religious significance, and she wanted to wear
        > it on Wykka holy days, at least. For school administrators, the
        > pentagram is gang sign, and prohibited.

        The *pentagram* is a gang sign? Since when, and where? Although Wicca
        may be classified possibly as a social group, it is no more a "gang"
        than the preps, jocks, cheerleaders, theater kids, or geeks are a
        "gang". Did the school administration have a logical explanation for
        this theory of Wicca being a gang and not a religion?


        > Our resident gang is a branch of the 415, which aficionados may
        > recognize as originally an Oakland, CA gang: 415 was the area code
        > for their neighborhood.

        San Francisco and the SF peninsula, actually. Oakland was always 510
        area code. :) And the "exportation" of California gangs is apparently
        common; I hear there are "branches" of the Crips, Bloods, and Crenshaw
        Mafia (originally from LA) in various regions in the midwest.
        All the interviews I've seen with them have been pretty
        fruitless; they claim that they're a "branch", but no LA Crips have
        ever heard of Kentucky Crips. I'm guessing it's imitation; much like
        white suburban boys have been doing in the past couple of years.

        Amusingly enough, two years ago, the entire peninsula (from just south
        of San Francisco itself all the way down to Sunnyvale) changed over to
        the 650 area code. I wonder what the 650-area 415 members did about
        their name? I sure don't see it tagged around as much anymore. ;)

        > The boys wear black oversized pants and
        > black oversized tee-shirts featuring some of the more obnoxious
        >punk groups or rappers.

        Now I'm *really* nitpicking, but gangstas listening to punk bands?
        This is a new one to me. Everywhere else, the gangsta wannabe kids
        usually make fun of/beat up punks, and have been known to tag "PUNK IS
        DEAD" on the occaisional available surface. The last punk/rap
        crossover I know of was Ice-T's band Body Count, and that was in 1990.
        Is there a resurgence of punk music going on among non-punks?
      • Tara Maginnis
        There was recently a spat ... wear ... Interestingly if the parent and child sued, the school district would be in major legal trouble. All over America, in
        Message 3 of 3 , Apr 29, 2001
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          There was recently a
          spat
          > > with a junior high student and parent, both practitioners of Wykka
          > > (sp?), because the student had some jewelry with a pentagram. For
          > > her the pentagram had religious significance, and she wanted to
          wear
          > > it on Wykka holy days, at least. For school administrators, the
          > > pentagram is gang sign, and prohibited.

          Interestingly if the parent and child sued, the school district would
          be in major legal trouble. All over America, in numerous cases courts
          have ruled in favor of students wearing religious symbols of any
          description that they prefer:

          http://www.adl.org/religion_ps/dress_codes.html
          http://www.religioustolerance.org/sch_clot.htm
          http://www.freedomforum.org/templates/document.asp?documentID=8553
          http://www.topica.com/lists/alniqab/read/message.html?mid=1704200563&s
          ort=d&start=27
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