PCHS dress code miscommunication
Corey Allinson has been in law enforcement for seven years, but this August, he ventured into new territory. Allinson is the new school resource officer at Park City High School, who said he is hoping to educate parents about the drug culture from his experiences throughout his career.
Allinson sent an email to the Parent Teacher Organization who he said gladly forwarded it to all of their contacts. The email listed several different clothing brands Allinson said either proudly represent "counter-culture" or sell products with "stash pockets," hidden compartments in the clothing or accessories that can hold drug paraphernalia.
"I’m not saying that if you own these articles of clothing you are a bad person," he said, "but it is possible you could be doing something or hiding something you shouldn’t be."
He said that while he searched two students with stash pockets in their beanies at a football game and found no paraphernalia, he had to make a home visit to a student who was not attending class. The student had a large belt buckle with a stash pocket, and Allinson said he found drug paraphernalia in the buckle.
As far as a drug problem at the high school goes, high school Principal Bob O’Connor said he gets defensive when people discuss it. "It is a drug problem in our society, so I try to represent that viewpoint, that drugs are in our society and spill into the school," he said.
O’Connor said a student spoke out at the Park City School District Board of Education meeting on Dec. 3 saying he felt students who wore the clothing brands mentioned in the email were being singled out.
Allinson said that was not his intention. His goal was to educate parents, law enforcement and students about what certain clothing brands represent and the message they are sending to other people when they wear these brands.
When he spoke to Treasure Mountain Junior High health classes several weeks ago about the brands, he said he asked the students what people wear to job interviews and went from there. "When you go into an interview for a job, you wear a suit or something nice, because you want to be labeled as a professional," he said.
He explained that by wearing certain clothing brands, they are sending a message to those involved in the drug culture that they are either part of it as well or want to be a part of it.
The dress code at the high school, he said, prohibits clothing that promotes drug or alcohol use, substance abuse or anything violent or offensive in nature. While most of the clothing brands he mentioned in the email do not promote the drug culture outright, he said they project the message to those who know about the brands.
"Is it illegal to wear these brands? No. Are you sending a message to your peers? Yes. Are you giving yourself an uphill battle if you are trying to get out of this type of lifestyle? Yes," Allinson said.
O’Connor said he hoped Allinson’s email will not only educate faculty and parents but students as well.
"I spoke with the young man that spoke at the school board meeting, and I appreciated his point of view. I tried to share with him that we weren’t necessarily profiling kids but making parents aware of what some of these symbols and styles signify," he said. "Also, some kids weren’t aware of what certain clothing items might mean or represent, so it’s to educate those kids, too."
Allinson said he has found drug paraphernalia on several students since starting his job at PCHS in August, but he has not had a problem with "stash pockets" from the clothing brands listed in the email yet. He said he is just taking precautionary measures to inform parents, law enforcement, faculty and students.
"Drugs, alcohol, illegal substances and substance abuse have been going on in high schools forever," he said. "So wearing these items doesn’t mean you are a bad kid, it is simply projecting a message you might not necessarily want to send."
For more information on these clothing brands, contact Corey Allinson at 435-645-5650 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Allinson also recommends Boise, Idaho-based Officer Galloway’s presentations that he said delve further into the topic of drug culture at http://www.tallcopsaysstop.com.
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