Misunderstood Newsome rules and why they exist

Every day at Newsome students follow school rules they do not really understand. These rules regulate everything from dress code, un-reusable cups and when students can be in the parking lot.

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Misunderstood Newsome rules and why they exist

Debra Garcia, Online Editor-in-Chief/Business Manager

   Every high school has several rules that are implemented to keep students and staff in line. Though, there are a number of rules at Newsome that many students do not quite understand why they are in place. These range from dress codes, school bathroom rules and even senior incentives. 

   Paul Lindstrom, the Assistant Principal for Administration at Newsome, helps enforce these rules the most. He believes that “No one can be successful without discipline.” He cares about students and wants to help them understand the reasons why certain rules at Newsome are in place. This way, if students understand these policies more, they will become less likely to break them. 

  1. Dress code. Specifically hats, shoulders and short-shorts: 

   The Hillsborough County Student handbook and Newsome Code of Conduct specifically state that head coverings, tank tops and short-shorts are prohibited. Many believe that dress codes are rooted in sexism. Whether that may be true or not, Mr. Lindstrom believes that there are logical reasons behind these rules.  

   For decades, wearing hats indoors has been seen as disrespectful. Many students wear beanies, bucket hats, hoodies and even headphones for fashion reasons. “Since the 90s, it has been proper to take off hats inside buildings,” says Lindstrom. Taking that into account, it is hard to control every student and make sure they take off their hat every day, so it makes sense to ban them altogether.  

   As for tank tops or tops with spaghetti straps, it is reasonable to understand that there is always a chance that the straps can fall and reveal more than intended. “We also enforce this to promote hygiene,” said Lindstrom. 

  When it comes to short-shorts, Lindstrom brought up a good point about the consequences of having bare skin at school. “Having bare skin out under short-shorts can cause the skin to catch onto desks and chairs, causing students to leave their sweat everywhere,” said Lindstrom.  

  1. No outside drinks allowed: 

   Although not stated in the Newsome Code of Conduct, administrators tell students that they are not allowed to bring outside drinks onto campus. Many students see this as unfair, as in the mornings it is custom to bring their morning coffee, energy drinks and Mcdonald’s leftovers. “We enforce this to prevent spills,” says Lindstrom. “No one would clean up their messes, and this caused problems for the custodians,” he stated. 

   There is a misconception floating around that reusable cups are banned. This is not the case. “Reusable cups are allowed,” says Lindstrom. 

  1. Students are not allowed to leave classrooms the first and last 10 minutes of class:

   Every year, teachers are told to not let students leave their classrooms during the first and last 10 minutes of each period. Though students have universally accepted this policy, they almost always wonder why this rule exists.

    To put it simply, it is to make sure that students do not skip class. “If they are present for the first 10 minutes of class, then they are less likely to skip the rest of the period, and the same thing with the end of the period,” said Lindstrom. 

   Fun fact: this rule was first implemented when the school opened in 2003, it then became so popular with administrators that other local high schools adopted this rule as well. “Administrators want to make sure that students are where they are supposed to be, so this rule spread to Riverview, Bloomingdale, and Durant high school,” says Lindstrom. 

  1. Students must leave their cars and the student parking lot at 8 a.m. :

   Towards the lower half of the 2020 year, juniors and seniors were told that they were not allowed to sit in their cars before the first bell rings anymore. This rule has carried into this year as well, as after 8 a.m. students are herded out of the parking lot in droves. 

   This sudden rule change angered and confused most students, as they used those mornings in the parking lot to see their peers before school begin. This left students wanting answers on why this privilege had been stripped away. 

  Many rumors circulated about students sneaking non-students on campus, stating this is the reason why they must leave the parking lot in the morning. Although these rumors have not been confirmed, Lindstrom does explain that a reason for this rule change is the sheer amount of vaping going on in the parking lot. “Newsome has a large vaping issue, we just want to keep our students safe,” he says. 

  1. Students are not allowed to leave the cafeteria during lunch without a pass: 

   At the beginning of each school year, it is explained to students that they are not allowed to leave the lunchroom without a pass from a teacher. The problem with this rule: a lot of teachers do not write passes for their students. They just tell them to stop by during lunch. 

   Lindstrom says that this precaution was put into place so students do not interrupt ongoing classes or teacher lunch/planning periods.” We are doing our best to stress to teachers to give students passes during lunch,” said Lindstrom. 

  1. Students only have four minutes during passing periods: 

   It can be stressful for students to walk across campus, visit their locker and use the restroom in the limited four minutes between classes. Many students complain about this as they often run out of time and come in tardy for class. 

   Although Lindstrom understands the issue, he knows that there is no other way to fix it. “The only alternative is to start school earlier or end later,” says Lindstrom. “The county says that classes must be 49 minutes long, and buses must be here at 3:25 p.m,” he added. 

  1. Seniors are allowed to leave five minutes before dismissal: 

   Every day at the end of 8th period, a voice over the intercom calls for all upperclassmen to leave campus five minutes earlier than the underclassmen. This always seems confusing for the underclassmen, as they seem it unfair that other students get to leave earlier than most. 

   The light-hearted reason behind the policy, just a fun incentive for all the seniors on campus. The logical reason however actually makes more sense. “When Newsome first opened up, we started this rule to clear out the parking lot faster and to prevent traffic issues,” says Lindstrom. 

   Now, most juniors and seniors leave during their lunches. So by dismissal time, the seniors still on campus are allowed to enjoy being upperclassmen, get to their cars earlier and clear the lot. 

  Newsome history will always be filled with rules and policies that students question the meaning behind. It is best for students to know the purpose of these rules so they can do their best to understand and follow them correctly. 

   If students have any more questions on Hillsborough county and school rules, please read the Student handbook, Newsome Code of Conduct, or contact an administrator. 

Hillsborough County Student Handbook:


Newsome High School Code of Conduct: