"James, Johnathon, Devontae, and Natalie, pull up your pants, please," the teacher says upon watching her students file into the classroom as the morning tardy bells sound. "Kiddos, do I really need to say that to you every morning?"
The students dutifully hike up sagging pants that are belted close to their knees, walk to their desks, and have a seat. The teacher introduces and explains the warm-up activity for the daily lesson. After checking that all students are working, the teacher sits down to take attendance, and do her required morning policing of the dress code. A quick once over around the room reveals that 10 out of 24 students are out of dress code. The teacher sighs audibly.
"Te'Ron, Alvie, James, John, Devontae, Natalie, Amy, and Amir, pull up your pants. Mary, button up your blouse. LaQuanda you need to go see the Dean of Girls."
LaQuanda stands up and shouts defiantly, "Why I gotta go see the Dean?"
The teacher audibly sighs again. "Because your skirt is too short and your top doesn't cover your midriff. And, if I wanted to get nit-picky about it, you are not allowed to wear clothing that depicts sex, drugs, profanity, or violence."
"I ain't got on nothin' wit that on it." LaQuanda tosses her head and smirks. The class tries to cover their laughter.
"Really? FUH Q? You don't think that is inappropriate?" The class laughs out loud. The laughter is due to the fact that the teacher over-exaggerated the pronunciation to avoid actually saying 'fuck'. However, LaQuanda does not pick up on it and believes the laughter is directed at her. She retaliates the only way she knows how.
"My momma buyed this for me. If my momma say I can wear it, you can't tell me I can't."
"Actually, the school can tell you that, and has told you that," the teacher says flatly. "Now, would you please go see the Dean?"
"You be trippin'. I ain't even goin' get in trouble for it. The Dean is just goin' have me call home and get new clothes. She ain't goin' write me up for it or nothin'," LaQuanda huffs.
"Yes, you is goin' get in trouble," a girl in the back of the room retorts.
Turning to face the new voice, LaQuanda verbally attacks, "No, I ain't. My momma don't care. They can't be tellin' me what to wear if'n my momma say its okay." LaQuanda adds emphasis to her words by rolling her eyes, sucking her teeth, and tossing her head.
"Be that as it may, LaQuanda, you still need to go pay the Dean a visit." The teacher stands from her desk, walks to the door, and holds it open. LaQuanda sits defiantly regarding the teacher for a moment. The teacher leans against the door and cocks an eyebrow, meeting the little girl's stare. LaQuanda, reluctantly, stands, and angrily prances her way out the door.
Once the girl is gone and the door has closed, another student announces, "She is gonna get in trouble. Her momma don't likes it when she has to come up to the school. And, the dean done tol' her if she got another dress code violation she was gonna get written up."
"That's between her, her momma, and the Dean. Now, who wants to volunteer to read their entry..." The students are re-directed back to the lesson and class resumes.
It is now the last 10 minutes of class. The teacher walks around the room assessing students' work and the success of the lesson. Students are finishing up the wrap-up assignment, asking for approval and clarification. The teacher is pleased that the lesson went so well, given the start to the period. She was able to re-focus the class after LaQuanda's departure and there were no further outbursts. Of course, LaQuanda has yet to return the room. Looking at the girl's books still spread out on her desk, the teacher sighs, again. "Deana? Will you gather up LaQuanda's..."
The teacher is interrupted by a hard knock on the classroom door. LaQuanda has returned from her trip to the Dean of Girls' office wearing baggy, ill-fitting jeans and a school t-shirt. She is visibly upset and carries a yellow form with her. As she walks into the room, she glares at the teacher and stomps back to her desk. The teacher goes to gather the work LaQuanda missed; LaQuanda's classmates grill her about what happened with the Dean.
"What'd'ya get? SIPS?"
"Did the dean call your moms?"
"Yes!" LaQuanda hisses. "My momma said she won't gonna come all the way up here 'cause she tol' me this morning that I couldn't wear the shirt to school. And that if I gots in trouble for wearin' that shirt after she done tol' me not too she wasn't gonna bring me no more clothes. The Dean says I could sit in SIPS all day or put on something from the Lost and Found pile. I wasn't gonna put on none of that stuff. Its all dirty and tacky. So, I went and sat in SIPS."
"Why'd you go sit in there? It stink in there, and you gets all crammed up together."
"I know, but won't gonna wear none of those old clothes. They ain't cute." A boy beside her snickers. "What you laughin' 'bout?"
"Them clothes you wearin' now ain't cute," he replies.
"You ain't cute neither!" LaQuanda tosses her head, rolls her eyes, sucks her teeth, and continues talking to her friend. "Anyways, Sheena was in there and she say she had a pair of jeans in her locker I could wear. So, I went and got 'em, and went back to the Dean. She made me put on this t-shirt. Then, you know what she did to me? She gave me SIPS! I got 2 days of SIPS for this shit. That's just stupid and triflin'. I hate her!"
The teacher approaches LaQuanda and hands her the work. "LaQuanda, this is what we worked on today. You can bring it in to me next class and I won't mark it late." LaQuanda rolls her eyes as the teacher walks away. The bell rings. On her way out the door, LaQuanda throws all the work into the trash.
The teacher walks to the door, takes a deep breath, puts on a smile, and turns to greet the next class of students as they enter. "Good morning! Come on in, the assignment is on the board. Trashawn, Amber, Nicholas, Miguel. Please pull up your pants..."