- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 4, 2004

GUYTON, Ga. (AP) — Seventeen-year-old Laura Williams didn’t see anything wrong with working at Hooters for class credit.

But her school’s superintendent did.

Laura, a senior at Effingham County High School, has been working at the restaurant as a hostess for about a month, leaving school early to earn credits.

Superintendent Michael Moore has asked her to stop, saying working at Hooters is not appropriate for a school work-study program. The restaurant chain is famous for waitresses clad in low-cut tank tops and tight shorts.

“I have questions in my mind because of the advertising and sexual connotations,” Mr. Moore said. “People can make choices about where they want to work, but when the school system gets involved, it is my decision that we should not be involved.”

As a hostess, Laura wears a neck-high Hooters T-shirt and long khaki pants. She escorts customers from the restaurant’s front door to a table without taking or serving orders for beer.

The student’s father, Larry Williams, said he doesn’t have a problem with his daughter working at the restaurant.

“I went to Hooters for an hour, and six families came in for supper during that time,” he said. “This is a chain restaurant with high standards.”

The restaurant’s manager, Aaron Sharp, also said the superintendent is overreacting.

“A lot of people have misperceptions about Hooters, but we try to appeal as a fun place for everyone,” Mr. Sharp said. “We give balloons to children. We have a kids’ menu. Our staff is told to cater to wives and children before the husbands. This is not an inappropriate atmosphere for a family meal.”

Laura had a job earlier in the school year cleaning homes and businesses, but was encouraged by a school adviser to get a job where her performance could be better monitored, her father said. So she accepted the job at Hooters.

Mr. Williams said he was surprised when school officials in this county north of Savannah questioned his daughter’s job. He said some work-study students work at restaurants that sell hard liquor, and others have worked at Hooters in nonschool-related jobs on weekends and summers.

Mr. Williams said he will appeal to the school board and argue that his daughter should be allowed to keep her job at Hooters.

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