As a conservative minded mother, I will say from the start that I appreciate school dress codes. My own children attended schools where uniforms were a requirement. Instead of the morning routine becoming a tug of war between a child’s will and the parent’s desire for what to wear, there might only be a discussion about what is for breakfast. Power struggles concerning clothing disappear along with student competition regarding who got the latest, greatest, name-brand garment on the market.
However, not everyone sees the advantages of having a school dress code. Schools throughout the country have banned various clothing for an array of reasons, causing claims of sexism and extremism among parent bodies. A Chicago-area middle school banned leggings and tight yoga pants for girls. Other states have forbidden non-human hair colors in the classroom. At least one Colorado school prohibited the number 18 from being worn since it was associated with a certain gang.
The question begs to be asked, “Where will it end?” Isn’t it natural for people to want to show there individualism? Is it the girls’ responsibility to cover up because boys have raging hormones, as many of the schools profess? Is wearing pink hair to remind people of Breast Cancer Awareness Month the same as wearing purple hair to show which gang you belong to? If this week’s gang number is 18, who can say that next week’s gang number won’t be 7?
Many believe that part of proper education should be teaching students to respect each other in all ways, especially concerning gender and personality differences. More specifically, it is felt that placing most of the burden of modest dress on girls not only gives boys free reign to behave with disrespect towards girls but also encourages girls to misuse their sexuality to get ahead in “a man’s world” and to remain silent in the face of abuse and sexual harassment because, “it must be their fault for dressing inappropriately.”
Perhaps rather than school administered dress codes, we not only need to teach students about mutual respect but also about proper attire and behavior for various occasions. Discussions relating to appropriate apparel and acceptable behavior for going to school, attending a rock concert, or visiting grandparents, for example, might go a long way in helping our future adults make better personal choices in their lives.
What do you think?