Partial coverage – the rest of the story

School Board meetings set aside 45 minute before each meeting for public comment. If they have more speakers than time, the overflow speakers must hold their comments until oh-my-God-o’clock to be heard. 

Aycock Middle’s administration orchestrated such an impressive show of force to speak in favor of the recently proposed mandatory school uniforms last night that they were able to eat up most of the 45 minutes.  At 7:30, Board Chairman Alan Duncan apologized to those who were there in opposition to the policy and asked us to stick around – we finally spoke at 10:15pm, by that time N&R reporter Bruce Buchanon and most everyone else had left the building so the paper filed their story being unaware that any opposition exists.

In an unposted story, Buchanon cited Aycock teacher’s main reasons for supporting uniforms.  “I’ve had the pants fall off male students when they get up to sharpen a pencil“, said Melinda Spencer (one of my favorite teachers).  Teacher Doreen Sackmary lamented, “I spend a lot of time telling girls their shirts are two short and their pants are too low.”

If Bruce had stayed around, he could have quoted part of my comments concerning how Aycock’s current dress code is not being enforced.

“Aycock has had a strict dress code for many years.  In year’s past if a student showed his underwear an administrator would tie a rope around the sagging students pants to keep them in place.  If a girl decided to throw modesty out the window some day, a baggy t-shirt from the school closet would correct the problem.”

The story also noted the number of students who attended:

“A handful of Aycock students came to the meeting wearing shirts protesting the new policy.  But about 20 students came in support of the policy, wearing orange golf shirts that will be part of the uniforms”

What the paper doesn’t report is that those 20 guys were Aycock’s Drum Line who were dressed in orange polo shirts purchased a couple of days ago with money donated by the community.  They looked great as they were led in during the meeting by Jimmy Cheek who has indicated to me that he is no great fan of the uniform policy either – but he is a loyal employee.

As we were all leaving after the early 45 minute comment period, I asked several of the guys in the Line why they were there?  They said they weren’t sure.  All they knew was that they were performing during Aycock’s Multi-Cultural Festival last night and they were directed to pile in the back of a pick-up truck for the six block ride to the Eugene Street meeting site.  (A very dangerous and illegal practice BTW)

When I asked them if they were looking forward to wearing uniforms to school next year, they all responded with some derivation of, “Are you crazy Mr. Hoggard?”  If the reporter had stayed for the late night comment segment he would have heard  well-spoken Aycock student Libby Rodenbough inform the Board that she too had talked with the guys and that they had told her the same thing:

“Bringing the Drum Line here is another example of how Aycock’s administration is manipulating the process to get this policy in place”

New Rhino education reporter Lauren Slocum didn’t have a deadline last night and stayed till the bitter end – hopefully they will report the whole story next Thursday.

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