Uggs banned at Pennsylvania school to deter cellphone smugglers
Uggs may be ugly in some fashionistas' eyes, but should they be banned?
Yes, according to a Pennsylvania school principal who says the ubiquitous fur-lined, comfy boots and their imitators have become the hiding place of choice for cellphones and other gadgets that aren't supposed to be brought to class.
The ban takes effect Monday at Pottstown Middle School outside Philadelphia, where the principal, Gail M. Cooper, announced the rule last week in a letter to parents. The ban applies to boots that do not fit tightly around the calf or ankle, such as open-top Uggs. Boots with zippers or laces may still be worn, as long as they remain zipped and tied.
“We have been experiencing problems with some students wearing open top boots and carrying items in their boots that are prohibited in school,” Cooper's letter read, according to the Mercury newspaper. "Following several problems with these items, I have banned the outdoor, open top boots from our classrooms,” she wrote.
Under the school's policy, pupils who bring cellphones to school must leave them in their lockers and keep them turned off until the school day ends. But some boots fit in a way that allows kids to evade the rule, John Armato of the Pottstown School District told the Mercury. Fashion-conscious students may wear their Uggs to campus, but they'll have to change shoes before entering class.
The Mercury said the reaction to the ban had been overwhelmingly negative, and some of the comments on the newspaper's Facebook fan page reflected a mix of anger and amused incredulity. "Crazytown!!!" wrote one woman. "Ban their clothes and make them go to school naked," another said, pointing out that pants pockets also offer good hiding spots for gadgets.
But the school said it would not back down and noted that it had received support from some parents, such as Gail Beasley, who told the Mercury that "rude and ignorant" children got what they deserved. "Those kids ought to be glad that's all she's banning," Beasley said.
-- Tina Susman in New York
Photo: Uggs have been banned by a suburban Philadelphia middle school principal after some kids smuggled cellphones into class with them. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times