Imagine you walked into your doctor's office and he had on gym shorts and a tank top. You may all the sudden feel well after all and cancel your appointment. On your way to work, you stop by the bank and the teller has 15 earrings in various holes in her head, a sheer blouse with a red polka-dot bra underneath and a leather mini-skirt. You might wonder if your cashed check was coming back to you in a stack of ones. When you get to work, the receptionist is wearing a bandana around his bicep and a t-shirt with questionable language printed in big letters. By now, you will be screaming "what the heck is going on?"
Why? Because, in society, everyone is expected to conform to a certain standard of dress. It may change with the time, place, occasion, and season - but there are some expectations that your clothes reflects the purpose at that time.
So, when our kids show up for school, they should look like they are about learning, not heading to a teen (or adult) nightclub, hanging out at the pool, or getting ready to get in the bed. Most schools that I know of, have a dress code - a list of clothing items that are and are not allowed to be worn in school. That's the rule. You can't wear see-thru, mid-riff tops, short shorts, bandanas and hats to school. No one's trying to oppress anyone or take away some inalianable right to be inappropriately dressed. It's a rule of that institution. We all have to live with them. At your job, at your church, in restaurants, even on the golf course. And in school.
I had this discussion several mornings with my daughters, with school starting before the end of summer when it still feels like summer. Sorry, the navel bearing t-shirt that we let you get away with at the beach doesn't go to school. The flip-flops you patted around all summer, nope sorry, don't go to math class. The baseball hat you bought on vacation can be donned after the school bell. There's an appropriate place and time.
I laugh whenever I read an article on kids who are protesting the dress code. Sorry kids, can't really support you. I'll be over here, with a stack of long t-shirts you can borrow and wear to class, though.
And to the common girls’ complaint that dress codes are sexist because they ban specific female items (bra straps, mid-riff tops, etc.)? Nope, can’t go along with that either, because certain dress is distracting not only to the boys, but to everybody, as well as just inappropriate for school. Period. Boys, girls, teachers, everybody is looking at that girl with everything on display wondering what the heck was she thinking when she got dressed this morning? We've got to teach our girls to dress in a way that demonstrates a level of self-respect. We can't let them continue with this fallacy of "people shouldn't worry about what I'm wearing if I like it." Come on, please.
As much as we may not want to admit it, we judge people by their clothes. We all do it. The girl with the tight, short skirt. The boy with the pants hanging below his butt. The girl with the purple hair. The boy with the tattoo around his neck. They could be the Einstein of their generation, but their presentation will close many doors. I know, terrible, but true.
When kids go to school, we want them to project “I’m here to learn.” Not, “don’t you think I’m the cutest girl in the class?” Not, “My extra-curricular activity is hanging on the corner.” Sorry, kids. Put on a shirt that covers that navel-ring, pants that cover that booty, and leave the bandana at home. There’s a dress code.
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