The Unsettled Debate
Here we are, back again discussing dress codes. When my daughter was entering high school, I wrote a post about our parish not having uniforms in high school. Well, here we are two years later, and I still wish we had uniforms because the dress code violations are getting ridiculous.
I don’t know if you’ve interacted with today’s teenagers (I am talking the 15+ group), but they know a lot; they are absolutely more aware of social issues than we were at their age. Blame it on social media, blame it on maturing faster, being exposed to different lifestyles and populations outside of their bubble, but they are woke. And they aren’t quiet about their feelings.
Dress Code Violations
Back to dress codes…at the beginning of the school year, my daughter was told her skirt was too short. Not issued a violation but just the comment, which may be made more of an impact because an adult commented on her appearance in a negative way. A few weeks later, wearing jeans with small rips that she had worn multiple times in prior years, she was given an official violation.
Being in the middle of a pandemic and receiving daily calls from her school about COVID-19 exposures and kids being placed in quarantine, all the while my daughter and her friends were telling me how students and teachers weren’t wearing their masks properly. I flipped into Karen mode and sent off an email to the superintendent of the parish telling him that if my daughter’s knee is more of an issue than his teachers and students not wearing masks properly during a pandemic, then we have a major issue. The next week, masks were added to the dress code violation list, however, it sounds like they are the least enforced dress code still.
They Won’t Be Silenced
Last week my daughter came home and told me that her friend was given a dress code violation because her shirt was too short, an inch of her abdomen was showing. The following day, the principal made an overhead announcement about dress code, focused solely on the female population of the school, reminding them that shoulders and abdomens needed to be covered, the length of their shorts “when girls wear shirts or pants that are too tight, they are making a conscious decision to be disrespectful and present themselves in an inappropriate way, and they will be punished for doing so,” and “if you’re wearing leggings, you know where your shirt needs to be”–both statements from that overhead announcement. Those kids I mentioned earlier that are woke weren’t having it. They took to social media and to the school administration and voiced their thoughts. They started a petition on change.org about the dress code and the focus on female students and their bodies. There are comments on the petition page, anonymous and not, that show how our kids are being addressed in regards to their physical appearance by their teachers and administrators. I suggested to my daughter that she and her friends get the boys to come to school showing a little abdomen and maybe a little knee or thigh and see how that was received by the administration.
I confided in my group of friends, even had one friend say that when her daughter was in kindergarten, the teacher told her that the shoulder strap on her romper was distracting to the boys in the class. Friends in my group that are teachers said that having to enforce the dress code takes away from teaching time and that it’s only a distraction once it’s pointed out.
Clothing Does Not Define A Person
When I wrote my first post, many of the comments against uniforms was that they take away the students’ individuality, however, they aren’t really able to dress how they want with these dress codes in place. While I don’t think anything should be allowed as far as dress, I do think that some of the restrictions could be relaxed a little. Skirt and short length: we have cheerleaders and dance team who are allowed to wear their uniforms on game day and their skirts do not meet the dress code length, boys have no regulations on their short length (a girl even wore her boyfriend’s shorts to school to prove a point, she was dress coded for length). The double standard for school-approved uniforms for sports and male dress code vs the female student population is pointedly clear. While we will never be able to have a dress code or uniform policy that will make everyone happy, the focus on the female population and their body parts absolutely needs to be rethought. The more we continue to push the “what you wear makes people feel a certain way” mentality, the more dangerous and demeaning it becomes.