At the beginning of the 2021-22 school year, Saint Paul’s made the decision to crack down on students wearing Columbia PFG khaki water shorts. The shorts are made of an incredibly breathable lightweight nylon material which provided comfort that other pairs of shorts cannot; however, the shorts do not have a button or zipper and instead have a drawstring around the waist. Still, a large portion of the student body wore these shorts even though they were against the rules set for uniform shorts in the student handbook that every student diligently reads and signs at the beginning of each school year.
As you could expect, students were dismayed when they read the new concrete rules banning Columbia PFG khaki water shorts. Most students took the news in stride, bought new pairs of shorts, and carried on with their life. However, one student resisted this new rule change and wore the banned shorts to school. Sophomore William Williamson, decided he would throw the dress code out the window and was detained and arrested by the police on August 26, 2021, on one count of violating the student handbook.
Williamson’s behavior was a complete shock to his classmates and friends. Williamson was a part of the honors program at Saint Paul’s and took his academics very seriously.
Williamson’s classmate, Patrick Fernsby, had this to say when asked about Williamson’s arrest, “I have known Bill for years,and I would never expect him to defy the rules that blatantly.”
Principal Trevor Watkins was questioned by many students on why this rule-breaker was treated so harshly. Mr. Watkins was very transparent and said, “We make it very clear what shorts are allowed and are not allowed in the dress code; if a student disregards the dress code, we must lay down the law and set the tone for how dress code violations will be handled.”
Williamson has shown a lot of regret for wearing PFG shorts. Williamson was quoted in jail saying, “My other shorts were not clean. I love Saint Paul’s and would never disobey the handbook on purpose. Jail is scary. I cannot wait until my three-day sentence is over.” Reporters said it was very noticeable that Williamson’s legs were shaking and he was on the verge of tears while the interview was being conducted.
With Williamson being arrested, the administration hopes to send a message to potential rule-breakers. Mr. Watkins’ final message is, “Be wary he who thinks it is ok to break the rules of the student handbook.”
William Williamson moments after his arrest