Parents say teachers destroy shoes of children who school break dress code: ‘The definition of vandalism’

Students at Harvey E. Najim school in Texas had their shoes duct-taped or colored over with a permanent marker for breaking dress code. (Screenshot: KSAT 12)
Students at Harvey E. Najim school in Texas had their shoes duct-taped or colored over with a permanent marker for breaking dress code. (Screenshot: KSAT 12)

The parents of students enrolled at a Texas school are livid after learning that teachers are modifying the clothing of children who broke a strict dress code to adhere to its policy.

Students at IDEA Public Schools district in San Antonio wear polo shirts, plain black leather belts, khaki or black pants, white socks, and black shoes with black laces, which is required by the “uniform guide.” But some parents at IDEA Harvey E. Najim school, which serves children in grades Pre-K to 9, say kids who skim the dress code have their clothing tampered with or destroyed.

A parent who did not want to reveal her name, told San Antonio news station KSAT, “[My daughter says] ‘Mom, they have kids not bringing in the proper shoes. They're having them put tape around it or color it with a black permanent marker.’”

And mom Lashonda Peterson told news station KENS 5 that her daughter came home with black duct tape on a small white space on her black shoes. “I feel like they’re degrading the children,” she said. “This the third year my kids have attended this school, and I just feel like they've just gone a little overboard.”

A parent who didn’t share her name told KENS 5 that her child was removed from class for not wearing “the right colored socks.” She told the reporter, “She's in seventh grade and never had an issue. Ever, ever, ever. And just over some socks, the color of the socks. I was like, 'No, it doesn't make no sense.’”

On Tuesday, the school posted its dismissal policies on Facebook and parents fired off about the dress code. ““...For my granddaughter to come home and have her shoes with tape on it, due to the fact that the bottom was white, is crazy to me,” wrote a woman.

Someone else complained, “Parents need to file vandalism charges which is a class B misdemeanor in the state of Texas, against these teachers that deliberately destroyed their children's shoes or property. I hope the school is paying these parents back...what they did is the very definition of vandalism.”

The parent of a Pre-K student who does not want her name published tells Yahoo Lifestyle that on the first day of school a group of teachers was stationed at the classroom door holding ropes and rolls of duct tape. “I didn’t know what to think,” she says.

But on the second day, her son came home with a full bladder. “He lifted his shirt and someone had run a rope through two of his belt loops, then tied it tightly around his stomach, leaving a red streak,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

Pre-K students are not required to wear belts (a fact the school confirmed on Facebook). “Either my son didn’t use the bathroom all day or someone re-tied a new rope around his waist each time he used the toilet,” she says.

The mother met with the Harvey E. Najim assistant principal on Wednesday and has a second meeting with the principal on Friday. However, she will un-enroll her son. “There is nothing the school can say to regain my trust,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “This has been a complete nightmare.”

A IDEA spokesperson tells Yahoo Lifestyle, “IDEA Public Schools believes that uniforms play an important role in maintaining a culture of focused learning and positive behavior, and we communicated uniform expectations with families prior to the start of the school year. While we want to ensure students abide by the dress code, we don’t condone, and have put a stop to, modifying student property to address uniform policy infractions. We are connecting with each family who has had impacted property, and we will provide a replacement of equal value. We are committed to working with school leaders, staff and families to find more viable solutions moving forward.”

The 4-year-old’s mother tells Yahoo Lifestyle that communication at Harvey E. Najim is lacking. “We spend money on clothing,” she says. “The school can call parents if a rule is broken...enough is enough.”

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