(POTTSDOWN, Pa.) — A ban on “open top” boots at Pottsdown Middle School in Pennsylvania is not a protest against fashion.
In a letter sent home to parents from Principal Gail Cooper Wednesday, “open top boots” are banned in classrooms starting Monday because students have been bringing in contraband items in their boots.
“Following several problems with these items, I have banned the outdoor, open top boots from our classrooms,” the letter stated. Under this rule, the ban would include the popular Uggs. “Students may continue to wear outdoor boots to and from school to protect them from cold, snow and ice but need to change into a pair of sneakers or shoes before entering homeroom.”
Students have been mainly hiding cell phones in their boots, John Armato, director of community relations for the Pottstown School District, told ABC News. The possession of personal electronic devices in school, including cell phones, is not permitted. Students must keep their devices in their lockers between 7:55 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. If a student decides to text or a phone goes off, these types of events are causing disruption to a positive education atmosphere, Armato said.
“It is a ruling that is made to address a particular situation,” Armato said. “If the problem goes away, there is no need for the rule.”
The reactions Armato has received have ranged from support for maintaining an educational environment to accusations that the ban infringes upon students’ rights to wear certain fashions. He said the ban could change and has been instated on a “as need basis.”
The school district does have a mandatory uniform for the middle school students. The school handbook devotes a section to proper attire that states shoes, boots and sneakers with matching-colored laces are permitted. It also says if clothing disrupts learning, the administration has the right to set rules about questionable attire. If a student does not comply, discipline can range from a reminder sent home to parents on the first offense to possible detention or suspensions at the principal’s discretion for repeated offenses.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Aaron Smith and Evan Perez, CNM
Matt Egan, CNN