Dress Codes: I’m Torn On This One8 April, 2008
Our local school district is discussing a new dress code for the public schools: slacks, polo or button down shirts, sweaters, and (for the girls) ‘demurre’ skirts. Part of me doesn’t have a problem with this. I can understand pulling the jeans out (considering where they wear the jeans now, I approve) — it gets rid of ‘judgement calls’ as to how many holes in what places are appropriate, and how far down the thighs the waistband should be. Getting rid of the hoodies and the t-shirts? Again, I can see that. It eliminates the judgement calls for the too-tight, too-low, too-many-holes shirts.
The problem I see is that there is already a dress code for the schools. And it isn’t enforced evenly. If a skinny girl wears short-shorts and a white tummy shirt with a black bra, the administrators in the school have no problem. But if a chubby girl wears the same thing? She gets a note home.
The big problem I have with dress codes in school (ones that require judgement calls) is that you have middle aged men looking very closely at how the elementary, junior high, and high school kids dress. One of my oddest memories from high school was an announcement that came over the loudspeaker one spring morning:
Skirts should be like term papers: long enough to cover the subject adequately, but short enough to be interesting.
Again, middle aged men closely observing the dress of teenagers and pre-teens.
I fail to see how a new dress code will help. If the old dress code is not enforced, will a stricter one be easier to enforce? Maybe, as long as it eliminates judgement calls. But, again, someone has to actually enforce the dress code. I have a bad feeling about this. . . .