Dress rule is history, and so is my couch
© St. Petersburg Times
Ididn't think it was a big deal that Bloomingdale High was telling its senior girls to wear a dress or skirt with a hemline that didn't show beneath graduation gowns. Not a big deal, that is, until I spoke to Bloomingdale seniors Alicia Traurig and Amber Smith.
"It just seemed kind of ridiculous to me that we have to show some leg to get our diploma," Traurig said.
Traurig and Smith asked school administrators if they could wear business slacks under their gowns instead. "No" was the answer, and the girls were told they might not get their diplomas if the protests continued -- the same threat, Smith said, used in past years to curtail complaints about having to wear a dress or skirt.
"When you threaten them with graduation, it's an effective tactic," Smith said. "Parents get upset."
But Traurig's father got upset in a different way. He told Alicia she should call the American Civil Liberties Union.
Guess what? After school district officials received a letter from attorney Karen M. Doering on Wednesday, Bloomingdale High quickly rescinded the policy.
Hillsborough schools spokesman Mark Hart said the district office did not believe dress should be an issue during graduation, but he said schools continue to be on solid legal ground in enforcing dress codes.
Traurig and Smith want to see the graduation dress policy changed at all county schools. Smith notes that years ago women had to fight to make pantsuits acceptable in the workplace and the courtroom.
"It's such a small issue," said Smith, a budding speech writer, "but it has such a big meaning."
Remember my idea of widening Nebraska Avenue? For all of us trying to get from downtown to USF, it's brilliant.
Some Nebraska residents and business owners have a far different outlook. They want to narrow Nebraska to two lanes between Kennedy Avenue and Hillsborough Avenue, says Gena Torres of the Planning Commission, and the proposal has been well received.
Torres, who just happens to be a Seminole Heights resident, has presented her "road diet" design to a number of civic groups, and one of the few complaints has been that the proposal doesn't extend all the way to Fowler Avenue.
The idea would be to create left-turn lanes, bike lanes and refuge islands in the median. Traffic would be calmed, but it would not come screeching to a halt. The idea is to encourage walking and lend more of a neighborhood feel to the community. Trees and greenery could be put in the median islands.
Next challenge is to persuade the state Department of Transportation to draw the lines differently as it prepares to repave Nebraska.
A faded couch has sat in my den for years. Its springs have sprung and there's a tear in the back.
And I love it.
After years of conditioning, it finally matches the contour of my body. It may hold a few missing toys and that long lost remote, but it also holds an array of memories. I napped with all three of my kids on that couch after bringing them home from the hospital.
My wife says it's time for the couch to go. I argued it could go on the patio, but she said only if we move to Ocala.
Now it's in the garage and you know that's like moving a death row inmate to the cell next to Old Sparky.
Please, somebody call the governor. I need a pardon.
That's all I'm saying.
-- Ernest Hooper can be reached at (813) 226-3406 or Hooper@sptimes.com.
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