Silent Protest of Uniforms: Hoodies and Stretch Pants

Email a Friend

SchoolBook reporters spent Thursday morning on campuses that were in the news last year. Here is another in a series of dispatches on how things went on the first day back to school.

Hundreds of teenagers entered Murry Bergtraum High School for Business Careers on Thursday morning wearing gray or khaki pants and white shirts, complying with the school's new and controversial dress code. Others wore hooded sweatshirts, brightly striped rugby shirts or tight, aqua-colored pants — items not delineated in the dress code. One young woman was dressed head to toe in black. A young man wore sagging jeans and a rhinestone belt.

And then there were students like Alpha Dumbuya, 16, who said he was considering transferring schools to avoid the uniforms.

“I like being free to dress the way I want,” said Alpha, dressed in tan cargo pants and a black polo shirt. “My clothes don’t affect my education."

Such complaints were lodged in an orderly manner, contrary to the supposed loud protest that a Baruch College newspaper, The Paw Print, last month reported was being planned. (Last year, Bergtraum students actually did stage a loud protest over the issue of bathroom access.)

On Thursday morning, a woman stood at the schoolhouse door, directing students into separate lines, depending on whether they were in uniform. A young man wearing jeans and a gray sweatshirt said later that he and about 100 others who had not observed the dress code had been directed, once inside the school, to the auditorium.

“They should take away the uniforms,” he said.

But before the student had a chance to elaborate, or give his name, he was approached by a figure in a different sort of uniform — that of a school security guard — who suggested that he go back inside the school and address himself to his studies.