Youth learns naked truth of work-study Job in nude bar puts graduation in jeopardy

December 29, 1992|By Knight-Ridder Newspapers

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Dino Magazzeni failed hi work-study class this semester, not because he didn't put in his hours, but because of his job.

The senior at Coconut Creek High School works as a bar helper at Thee Dollhouse III, a nude bar in Pompano Beach. That is unacceptable, school officials say.

Teachers are required to visit students' work sites, but school officials have balked at making Mr. Magazzeni's teacher, Peggy Stevenson, stop by his place of employment.

"What if someone goes by and sees her car in the parking lot?" asked Coconut Creek High School Principal Ronald Wilhoit.

Mr. Magazzeni, who lives in North Lauderdale, is among 800 students in the Broward County public school system's Distributive Cooperative Education program, which teaches employment skills and allows students to leave school early to work at fast-food restaurants, movie theaters, offices and other jobs -- but not nude bars.

School officials refused to give Mr. Magazzeni credit and told the aspiring bartender that he should look for another job. Mr. Magazzeni wasn't allowed to wrestle this semester because the failing grade put his grade-point average at a low D.

Mr. Magazzeni, 18, argues that he has been around this type of environment for years: His mother is "house mom" at the bar and takes care of the dancers. His sister is a waitress there. His brother-in-law is a general manager with the company. As a "bar back," Mr. Magazzeni keeps the bar stocked and helps waitresses. He is 18, so no law prohibits him from working there.

"I think this whole thing is crazy," said Cathy Magazzeni, Dino's mother. "He should be able to work wherever he wants."

Although Mr. Magazzeni's situation is unusual, it's not the first time the school system has refused to give credit for a job deemed unacceptable. A girl listed Thee Dollhouse III as her place of employment last year when she tried to get into a night program for dropouts at Plantation High School, said the school's principal, William Milano. She was not admitted.

The Magazzenis want to fight the school system's ruling because Dino has enjoyed working at Thee Dollhouse III for the past six months and expects to get better pay and hours with time. But they don't want to risk his missing graduation in June, so he has agreed to look for another job.

"They're being very un-open-minded about this," he said. "I mean, this is the '90s."

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