Holes in our jeans; holes in our hearts

Franceska Lucaj, Editor-in-Chief

North Kingstown High School maintains the notion that acceptence of all students, no matter their race, sex, religion, etc, is pivotal. However, I find myself wondering if the way students physically present themselves also affects the way their teachers/administrators treat them. 

I remember a time, during my high school career, when a classmate in one of my classes was clearly having struggles at home. I noticed that he wore the same pants every time we had class: dark blue jeans with holes that seemed to be getting bigger each week. I could see he was dealing with larger issues than if Romeo loved Juliet.

My teacher, who I truly admired and saw as a mentor, helped me beyond words with my essays and even prepared for tests. Yet she constantly “picked” on him. I noticed she would call on him out of the blue and expect that he knew every answer, when in reality, most of us did not. 

Somehow she had bigger expectations for him than for the rest of the class. I never understood why that may have been until this  year.

My best friend, a good student who presented herself well, had gotten detention for being a few minutes late to class. An administrator told her, shortly after detention was over, that he knew she was a good student (just by the look of her) and even went as far as implying people like her aren’t seen in detention.  He made assumptions about the kind of person/student she was. 

Was it the fact she didn’t have holes in her pants? I think we all naturally make assumptions about other people—that’s human. However, are these unsubstantiated presumptions holding us back from truly understanding the people around us? 

So, I made an effort to get to know this student. I reached out to him and even studied with him multiple times. As we became closer, I began learning more about him and his experience at North Kingstown High School. He said he couldn’t afford to buy new clothing and also had to share clothes with his two siblings.

He explained how he knew everyone talked about his pants and how his teachers would never try to form a relationship with him. He told me that I was the first person to actually see him. 

I came upon the realization that just because I am living comfortably in North Kingstown, that doesn’t mean everyone else is. I realized the teachers who treat me so well don’t treat everyone else similarly. I realized that North Kingstown High School needed to change as well. 

That day I went home, got my favorite pair of jeans and ripped holes in them. I wore them to school proudly and made a point to my friend that he should no longer be embarrassed that he couldn’t afford Levi’s, like the rest of our classmates. 

I received countless looks throughout the day, even got dress coded at one point. We are so designed to alter ourselves to fit the environment that when we see anyone who dares to be different or cannot afford to fit the environment, they automatically are deemed unpopular and juvenile. When in reality, it’s the teenagers who have overcome hardships and have less that have more: more experience, more empathy, and more knowledge on how to make it through challenging situations. 


I continued to wear my ripped jeans, and I noticed a shift in the way he carried himself. 

Instead of walking with his arms around his books and head down, he began loosening up. He walked down the hallway confidently. As he should have.