Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

`Uncool' Fashion List Divides School

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

`Uncool' Fashion List Divides School

Article excerpt

At Northwest High School in House Springs, students are fighting over shoe styles and earrings, lipstick shades and hair colors, all because of a recent article in the student newspaper.

The story hit the hallways about three weeks ago in the October issue of Northwest Detail. It included a box of fashion do's and don'ts that offended one social group and left the student body polarized.

The list proclaimed it hip to sport belly button rings, small tattoos, khakis, colored fingernail polish, baggy jeans and lots of name brands. What's uncool? Eyebrow rings, tongue rings, greasy hair, purple hair and black lipstick. The group offended by the story, the so-called freaks, burned copies of the newspaper in front of the school and threatened to physically attack their classmates, students say. The mainstream fought back by throwing punches and printing threatening fliers that urged their friends to "hit a freak." School officials say they are only aware of one fight, but students say they know of at least a half-dozen. "It's getting a lot worse," said senior Michael Harris, 17, a so-called freak. "There have been a lot more fights. A couple of my friends have been hit in the back of the head by people who run off, and some have not been coming to school." Students in the "freak" crowd with purple hair, tongue rings, dark lipstick and military boots say the story hurt morale, stoked their anger and led to outbursts. "It wasn't fair," said senior Lynne Amrein, 17. "It didn't say what was fashionable for us. People who are not in our group are afraid to hang out with us because they don't want to get hurt." But the mainstream, especially the students who put the story together, takes a different view. "Maybe we should have been a little less opinionated, but we wanted that response, and we got everybody to read our article," said senior Linda Darnell, 17, one of two girls who wrote the story. …

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