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Sunglasses and spiked bracelets are out

STAMFORD, CONN. - Students in city high schools are protesting a new dress code policy. Westhill High School students protested a ban on hats by wearing them to school, and students at Stamford High School tried to walk out of classes but were stopped at the door by administrators and security guards.

The dress code bans hats and headgear, except for coverings worn for religious reasons. Students are not allowed to wear attire or accessories with logos or emblems relating to drugs, alcohol, or tobacco. Sunglasses are allowed only when required by a doctor. Spiked or studded bracelets, oversized or multifinger rings are also prohibited.

Students who do not comply must leave school.

"Before we come into school, security has to check out our whole outfit," says Stamford High senior Ebonie Adams. "If they are going to check everything we wear, then they should just make us wear uniforms like the private schools do."

Like sardines, students pack into classes

NEW YORK - Returning students were more like sardines this past week, packed into more than 9,000 overcrowded classes citywide.

Randi Weingarten, head of the United Federation of Teachers, says the union will file grievances for every overcrowded classroom. Class size is limited to 34 students per class in high school, 33 in junior high, and 25 in kindergarten.

At Cardozo High School in Queens and Madison High School in Brooklyn, there were more than 400 overcrowded classes, the union says.

Jerry Russo, a spokesman for schools chancellor Joel Klein, calls the complaints "a stunt." Overcrowding often occurs at the start of the school year, but can be rectified easily, he says.

Education reform begins in Iraq

BAGHDAD, IRAQ - With Iraq's 8,500 schools set to reopen Oct. 1, US and Iraqi education officials are scrambling to revise textbooks and retrain teachers. It's the start of what is likely to be a years-long campaign to erase Saddam Hussein's imprint from the education system.

Web Smarts

www.rainforest-alliance.org

What: Designed by the nonprofit Rainforest Alliance, this website offers a curriculum to teach students in grades K-6 about conservation.

Best points: The beautifully illustrated site offers grade- specific lessons for students on science, all of which are based on the alliance's current conservation projects in Latin America.

Kindergartners can learn about the connection between rain forests - such as the CachalĂș Biological Reserve in Colombia - and what they buy at the supermarket. The lesson for fourth-graders, for example, teaches how chocolate helps protect forests in Ecuador. Older kids study the link between coffee and migratory songbirds.

There are also supplemental storybooks, essays, and profiles on tropical forests and endangered species that students can scroll through onscreen or download in PDF format.

What you should know: The site includes handy lesson plans for teachers, and parents may also find the materials useful - especially if their children do not have access to this material in their schools.

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