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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Jan. 15, 1997)
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Just say no
School code violations
don’t justify reaction
The clothes we wear, the way we style
our hair, and the way we decorate our bod
ies are symbols.
Symbols of who we are and what we
Statements of what we believe in.
And now they’re symbols of repression.
Last week the principal of Pound Middle
School banned wallets attached to chains and
bandannas of all colors, even though only
blue ones were reportedly causing a prob
Some students were allegedly wearing
the wallets and bandannas to identify them
selves as belonging to certain groups —
He even considered banning blue and
white hair scrunchies because they were
being worn by some girls as means of iden
The principal later decided too many
girls wore the scrunchies for legitimate rea
sons to institute such a ban.
Nationally, in the last several months
we’ve seen a 6-year-old expelled because
he kissed a girl and a high school student
expelled for giving Midol to a friend—the
school has a zero-tolerance policy for drug
More recently, a girl was suspended for
wearing “distracting” black lipstick and an
elementary student was suspended for bring
ing a 1-and-a-half inch GI JOE toy gun to
school — his school has a zero tolerance
policy on weapons.
The problem here is that no zero-toler
ance rule or school suspension will address
the real problems. Nor will they teach chil
dren useful life lessons.
“In the real world” society may have
across-the-board rules, but not across-the
board penalties. The justice system handles
Wc don t live in a zero-tolerance soci
ety. If that’s what we teach in our schools,
then we’re giving students a misguided view
of the world.
Administrators are using inappropriate
punishments for inappropriate behaviors.
There are problems in schools.
We can’t deny that, butschoot adminis
trators should address the problems with real
If administrators think their schools
have a gang problem, address die problem,
not the symbols.
For example, appropriate alternatives to
suspensions would be curriculum that in
cludes anti-violence and gun safety mes
sages. .. /
Educators are hired to teach students
and prepare them for life. Bogus policies
produce bogus perceptions of reality.
We are not advocating student fiee-for
alls in public schools. Most rules have rea
But schools should use common sense
when administering justice.
Let the punishment fit the crime.
Unsigned editorials ate the opinions of the
Spring 1997 Daily Nebraskaa They do not
necessarily reflect the views of the Univer
sity of Nebraska-Lincoln, its employees, its
student body or the University of Nebraska
Boardof*Regents. A column is soley the
opinion of its author. The Board of Regents
serves as publisher of the Daily Nebraskan;
policy is set by the Daily Nebraskan Edito
rial Bdnrd The UNL Publications Board,
established by the regents, supervises the
production of the paper Accordi ng to pol icy
set by.the regents, responsibility for the edi
torial content of the newspaper lies solely
in the hands of its student employees.
The Daily Nebraskan welcomes brief let
ters to the editor and guest columns, but
does not guarantee their publication. The
Daily Nebraskan retains the right to edit
or reject any material submitted Sub
mitted material becomes the property of
the Daily Nebraskan and cannot be re
turned Anonymous submissions will not
be published Those who submit letters
must identify themselves by name, year
in school, major and/or group affilia
tion, if any. Submit material to: Daily
Nebraskan, 34 Nebraska Union, 1400 R
St. Lincoln, Neb. 68588-0448. E-mail:
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Volunteer shares holiday spirit j
Over the years I have had the
privilege to be a part of many
different sporting events and
At these events, I’ve also wit
nessed many courageous feats. To be
on hand when a little 10-year-old
scores his first basket, or be in
Tempe, Ariz., and watch Tommie
Frazier run through the Gator
defense are things I’ll always
But no matter how much strength
I’ve observed at any of these athletic
contests, nothing will ever match the
strength and courage I observed over
my winter break. k
During the break, I volunteered at
the Mission Distribution Center here
in Lincoln. I originally started by
helping sort clothes and items that
they had received over the holidays.
But after a couple of days, I
started interviewing clients for food
The interviews weren’t that
extensive — the candidates just had
to fell me die basics about them
selves: names, age, number of
children living at home, etc.
But to sit there and watch people,
complete strangers, muster up the
strength and tell me why they
weren’t able to do the most basic
thing in life -r-pfOyide for their
family-r-is the strongest feat I have
of will ever witness.
These aren’t people who are Ifcsy,
hooked on drugs or alcohol, or have
some mental disability preventing
them from working or providing for
They aren’t die rejects of society,
people you turn your backs on, dr
people you avoid by walking down
the other side of the street.
:. They are people who have faced
setbacks in their lives and need help
getting back on the right track.
They are people who have wanted
to make a change in their lives for
he’s lucky, will be able to go back to
work in February.
Since the accident didn’t happen
at work, he doesn’t qualify for
These aren’t people
who are lazy,
hooked on drugs or
alcohol, or have
from working or
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iHsatxlity or time off; He is lucky
because his job will still be waiting
for him when he is healthy again.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t feed his
three children right now.
“Sarah” had a difficult time
sitting for her appointment — her 2
the better and need a little aid to get
back on their feet. *
One man, call him Bill, injured
his bade while helping a friendy If
happened before Christmas, and if
year-old son “Ryanr wouldn’t let * .
There was no evidence the father
had taken off when the child was 6
months old, leaving the mother with
all the bills and no support. Her son
was vibrant and full of energy.
Then there was Emily. Emily
didn’t want to talk, but her 5-year
old daughter “Jenny” enjoyed
showing me how she could write her
name and had fun playing with the
tilings on my desk. Like Ryan,
Eftiily didn’t show any of the
outward effects of living for many
years with an abusive man.
Young and just out of high school j.
when she got pregnant and married,
but now on her own, Emily wants to
raise enough money to move to
Fremont — where family there can
help her take care of her two
daughters. Ho* plans are to work
during the day and attend school at
But with a broken-down car, and
not much work over the holidays,
times are tough right now.
I sat and listened to their stories,
praised them for trying to do the
right thing in raising their children.
And since the Mission is a Christian
organization, 1 provided them with a
pamphlet of Bible verses.
Then I agreed toget them a food:’
basket. ..- ,:L \
Another organization puts the 4 ]
size of family, but most baskets
contain the basics of pasta, toilet
paper, canned goods, etc. i
What impressed me even mote f j
was (hat alihougi these families 3 ]
were struggling through a difficult
lime, they were still witting to make
donations to beip otherfamilies. r
I helped carry the baskets to their
cars (once I even delivered the box ?
to a family’s home personally
because they didn’t own a vehicle),' .]
and after about 10 or 20 thank-yous j
they would drive away.
And I would go back and listen to
another story, thankful that I could^
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Kluck is a journalism graduate
student and a Daily Nebraskan *
senior reporter. 1
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