School Rules (And What They Really Mean)

The first day of school is a roller coaster of fun and excitement.

Minus the fun and excitement. And the roller coaster, because that implies enjoyment.

Okay, actually, take the puking, lightheaded, dizzy panic of the roller coaster, keep it, and discard the rest.

Still with me?

Where I was going with this is that walking into Period 1 at the beginning of August is nobody’s idea of enjoyable. Even less so are the three separate booklets entailing every school rule, every consequence for violations, and every safety reminder/disclaimer known to man. Below are a few (taken directly from my school’s Code of Conduct), that are particularly striking in terms of their actual practical application to the school environment. Or lack thereof.

Irrelevant Rule #1: Cheating And Why You Should Not Do It, Ever, and If You Do You Will Be Sent to the Depths of Hell for Your Transgression

My school defines cheating as “copying or paraphrasing each others’ homework, recieving help on assignments the teacher has designated to be done individually, using the internet or purchased summaries of reading assignments instead of reading the assigned homework”– and that’s just the homework portion.

I think it’s funny because this goes on to list all the consequences for cheating– teacher reprimand, conference with a student, calling home, reduced credit on assignment in question, detention, etc.

These are the same consequences whether you ask for help on your individual English homework or take an answer key to the S.A.T.’s (in general, with a bit of variation depending on the severity, I’m sure). And they’re not even PUNISHMENTS! Sure, detention is bad, and a parent call home would probably get you grounded, but do you think that’s going to stop a student who’s determined to cheat from doing it again?

Copying answers, using CliffNotes for your Frankenstein study guide, working on homework with a group of friends…. this is so prevalent that it’s not viewed as cheating anymore. In fact, it’s probably more rare for most kids to actually DO the homework….

I don’t say this is irrelevant because it’s not needed– cheating is terrible and just makes it harder for the teachers to do their jobs. (Then the students complain they’re not learning anything!) But the consequences are relatively laughable, especially to those who know the tricks around the system and are determined to thwart it. If they’re going to take this stance against cheating seriously, they need to actually man up and buckle down on the security.

Irrelevant Rule #2: Cellular Devices and Personal Electronics Are Never To Be Used In Class. Under Penalty of Death.

At my last school, if you had a cell phone out in class, the teacher would take it away and your parents would have to come and get it. If you were texting, the teacher might read the text aloud or otherwise embarrass you. It certainly didn’t take away the problem, but if your Algebra teacher told your entire class the relationship troubles you were having with your boyfriend, you can bet you’d be hesitant to text in class again.

Our current code of conduct reads, “In order to maintain quality instruction with freedom from distraction, personal electronic devices such as cell phones, iPods, MP3, and video game players are prohibited in classrooms, unless the teacher provides permission for their use.”

Is this strictly enforced?

Is the sky green?

True, you can’t call someone in the middle of class and make Friday night plans with intervals of, “WHAT, YOU CAN’T HEAR ME? HOW ABOUT NOW? IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH YOUR RECEPTION? YOU LOST THE GAME, YOU COULD SAVE 15% OR MORE BY SWITCHING TO GEICO, QUARKS ABOVE I LOVE BIEBER HECK YES.”

Well, you could, but the teacher would say something. Or just write you a pass to the nurse’s office/your local psychiatric ward.

Short of that, however, there’s not much that can’t be done and/or HASN’T been done by my classmates. One kid sat in front of a teacher playing Tap Out right on his desk, blatantly not working, not even bothering to hide anything. Another texts just like she would if she was in the mall, and other kids actually listen to their iPods while the teacher is lecturing.

Again, more structure and actual discipline is needed if they’re going to make any improvements. Some of my teachers let us use our iPods in class (during silent reading, independent work, etc.), and I enjoy that, because I work better with my music on, and it helps me zone out of the annoying personal discussions that inevitably come with any independent assignment. But there needs to be a line, and it needs to be very clear, coated with gasoline, and then set on fire. With oozing magma and other fun stuff.

Irrelevant Rule #3: Public Displays of Affection Are Illegal and Frowned Upon by Society. Remember, Hugging is the Gateway Drug to Sexual Activity.

Actually, the rule says, “Companionship and friendship in good taste are encouraged. Behavior that becomes offensive to others is not in good taste and not acceptable student conduct. The campus limit for public displays of affection is hand-holding and brief hugs.”

Tell that to the couple that’s always passionately making out in front of my Spanish classroom!

I understand that we’re big enough to make our own choices now, and “teens will be teens”, and young love is so romantic and all that. I LOVE this rule (except “companionship” makes me think of having a dog or something), but It. Is. Never. Llama’d. Enforced. PDA is gross. Don’t do it.

On the plus side, if your 60+ boyfriends are fictional and/or Japanese actors, you can ignore this one! The closest you’ll ever come to PDA is screenshotting a shirtless fanservice shot.

Irrelevant Rule #4, You Should Dress Modestly, Which Typically Means Actually Wearing Clothes That Cover At Least 1/10 of Your Body at Any Given Time (As a Rule of Thumb)

The school dress code is the most grossly ignored rule in the school– and more than that, it’s not enforced at all, which just leads to a vicious cycle that ends in near nudity.

I’m not talking pep rallies, when girls wear sports bras, guys take their shirts off, and everyone’s covered in body paint. (Although that’s…. interesting, as well.) I mean kids actually go to class in booty shorts (think of it as underwear advertised as pants) and shirts low enough on top and high enough on bottom to be classified as bikini tops, more or less.
And then there’s the guys who wear the waistband of their skinny jeans on their legs.

Fun, fun, fun, fun, you know what it is.

We have a dress code, more or less. But nobody enforces it, nobody listens to it, and it makes for the most awkward time when you’re crammed in the hallways with forty thousand people wearing next to nothing.

(Slight exaggeration.)

Any school rules that you find ridiculous/terribly enforced? What would you do to change that? Do you think any of these rules shouldn’t be enforced, and why? Comment.

About Aloha

A teen writer and future world ruler. Llamas make me happy.
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24 Responses to School Rules (And What They Really Mean)

  1. Autumn says:

    Thank God I’m homeschooled and have always been. Rules are always the same for home as school.
    This line : “On the plus side, if your 60+ boyfriends are fictional and/or Japanese actors, you can ignore this one! The closest you’ll ever come to PDA is screenshotting a shirtless fanservice shot.” is so totally awesomely true!!!!
    ~
    Autumn

    • Aloha says:

      I’m jealous! My mom COULD homeschool me, but she won’t. She says I don’t get enough social interaction as is. LOL.

      Thank you! I’m glad you agree.

  2. rachanasreveals says:

    🙂 this is awesome 🙂

  3. Kirsten says:

    This is great. I have, erm, stricter rules at my school than yours, especially about dress. The one thing I really have to say is that I don’t consider reading Sparknotes in my free time about my English book constitutes as cheating. I always do my homework on my own or with a small group of friends (if it’s that type of homework). However, I occasionally will read about the book on Sparknotes, because I think it’s helpful for comprehension, especially if I skimmed, and I like to do literary analysis in my free time. Yeah, I’m an odd one. Rule #2 is rarely enforced at my school, though they actually take away phones. The best instance of this is when somebody was texting behind the chorus in Chorus class, and when asked to stand up, dropped his iPhone 4 on the stage. Oops. We don’t have to worry about #3, because nobody’s affectionate towards one another.
    But our stupidest rules concern technology. Like, seriously. We have rules like “only one person per class may hand out computers”, or “personal computers are not allowed unless given permission by a teacher”, or “we will strangle you if you use the computers at any time other than when approved by me, the master computer overlord”. These are all real, except for the whole thing about strangling. And it’s all so we can’t have fun and because the computers are shiny Macs that don’t work half as well as the PC I have at home. This also means I have to do more work in class than those who own MacBook Pros because you can’t convert the files. I hate Macs. And the rules surrounding them. Sorry for the overly-long comment.

    • Aloha says:

      “Master Computer Overlord.” Y’know, that has a nice ring to it.

      Stricter rules aren’t necessarily worse 🙂 Poor kid that dropped his iPhone, though. Bet he didn’t try THAT again.

      (I’m a PC person, too :P)

  4. ZNZ says:

    I go to private school, and we have uniforms. Cell phone rules are strictly enforced. I… don’t know if there’s a rule about PDA, actually. It’s never come up.

    @Kirsten: Dude, Macs totes pwn PCs. THE END.

    • Aloha says:

      Do you like the uniforms, or do you find them more annoying than anything? I can see the pros and cons to having them….

      You’re lucky as far as PDA not being an issue!!

      • ZNZ says:

        I’ve never minded the uniforms, actually. Among other things, shopping for clothes is MISERY COMPOUNDED ON MISERY and this makes it just a million times easier. They’re comfortable and it’s not like they’re ugly or anything – just navy blue and white.

      • Aloha says:

        I buy all my clothes either online or at WalMart, LOL. I don’t have the patience for malls– I agree that clothes shopping is a pain.

  5. Nia says:

    I get in trouble for daydreaming ALL. THE. TIME. And there are kids texting on either side of me and I’M the one who gets in trouble. *Steam* xD

  6. melsar93 says:

    Back in my day (old man rant coming) we didn’t have cell phones or iPods. We got in trouble for passing notes like you’re supposed to. The idea of listening to your walkman during class (allowed or otherwise) was laughable. And the whole pants on the ground fashion trend hadn’t started yet (thank god) – although we did have parachute pants which, while not as gross, was probably an equally stupid thing to wear.

    @ZNZ: Macs are toys. PC’s are for actually getting work done.

    • Aloha says:

      When I was a boy….

      Seriously, though, this is why I want time machines or something. Notes…. nobody uses them anymore! Walkmen…. I still have mine! (It doesn’t work, as much as I’d like it to…..), and a world without baggy skinny jeans is a world I would die to live in. (Paradoxal much?)

      Agreed as far as Mac VS PC 🙂 I have an iPod, which I love, and all the Apple products are fun to mess with and play Angry Birds on, but at the end of the day, Codex is a Dell PC, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  7. Aloha's Dad says:

    Wow, that’s an eye opener into high school life in the 2010s!
    My main comment is on “working on homework with a group of friends”. This should be (and probably is) encouraged by teachers for most assignments. In the “real world” being able to work with a team to come up with a solution to a problem that no one person could tackle on their own is a survival skill!

    • Aloha says:

      Yes, I agree with you. For the bulk of assignments, I don’t think the teachers would discourage group teamwork. The rule was stressing how you can’t copy work, or let one person do the entire project, etc, I believe.

  8. Tangy says:

    “recieving help on assignments the teacher has designated to be done individually”
    I hope this doesn’t include math assignments that you can’t do because you really do not get it. That was my first thought when I saw that.

    • Aloha says:

      Hm, I’m not sure =/

      For me in that respect, the textbook and Google are my two best friends. Between the two, you can find just about everything.

  9. hithere298 says:

    These are the same exact rules in my school, and last year my math teacher blackmailed me after I was caught cheating on my science homework, because I was slacking in class.

    • Aloha says:

      See, and I got in trouble for helping another kid in my class with the English homework on Friday….

      How did your teacher blackmail you?! Is that even legal?

      • hithere298 says:

        basically she just said: “Unless you start paying attention in class, I’m telling your science teacher that you were copying!” And she knows my science teacher is very strict with copying.
        Another funny thing was that my math teacher was really short, and I was about 8 inches taller than her, so she had to look all the way up to yell at me. heehee

      • Aloha says:

        Yeesh! Seriously, that’s harsh. Some teachers don’t know how to work WITH students instead of against them.

        That is funny, though 😛 In my biology class, I think every single student is taller than our teacher.

  10. I laughed all the way through that. . . probably because I’m homeschooled. Good gravy. I can’t believe you have to deal with that. I’d either go insane or detach from the world completely.

    Oh, and my Dad thinks Macs are the source of all evil (Including unenforced common sense laws.).

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