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Salinas High School Students Protest No Thong Underwear Policy

Aired September 13, 2000 - 1:34 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, many high schools prohibit students from wearing certain items of clothing, but what some of them wear under their clothes is the subject of a controversy in Salinas, California.

Felix Cortez (ph) of our affiliate KSBW has that story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FELIX CORTEZ, KSBW REPORTER (voice-over): These students had a loud and clear message for Principal Joseph Pollack (ph). They are upset because, according to them, he sent several students home for wearing thong underwear.

JODY LASDA, SALINAS HIGH SENIOR: Which is, also, I believe, sexual harassment. A, that he should be looking at any part of my body long enough to determine what type of underwear I am wearing and second, I believe that it's a violation of my civil liberties. It's my right, my freedom of expression, my right to privacy, what kind of underwear I wear.

CORTEZ: Assistant principal Jenny Hirst says she is not aware of any incident involving the skimpy underwear. And, she says, among other things in the dress code, girls are not allowed to wear strapless tops or tops that expose the stomach. But, it makes no mention of thong underwear.

LINDSAY VOWELL, SALINAS HIGH SENIOR: Most of these rules are put against the girls, is what we feel. They are too much of -- bad girls dress too attractive, therefore she can't learn and she's going to distract other kids. Which, if you ask any of the guys, it is not distracting.

JENNY HIRST, ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL: We particularly have this problem when the weather is hot.

CORTEZ: Assistant principal Hirst says the female students may be mad because recently campus guidelines have been strictly enforced, and that includes a dress code.

HIRST: We feel that appropriate dress is necessary for creating a healthy, safe and undisturbed school atmosphere where students are -- are focused on their classes. KEILA AGUILAR, SALINAS HIGH JUNIOR: And, this has nothing to do with learning. I think we have the right to wear what we want. It's our bodies.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: Well, all right. The principal issued a statement saying the school doesn't ban thongs and the controversy was started by a rumor.

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