Monday, October 22, 2012

Oh, what to wear?

It's going to be a busy day for the Poppet Household in Lake Woebegone ("where all the kids are above average"). Or is it Stepford (my friend's name for BW)? Today we are hosting the Field Hockey Team for the final pre-game Pasta Dinner.  Pasta dinners are something I can make with one hand tied behind my back - it's the pre-arrival straightening that has me a bit worried. I need to remove all evidence that people actually live here.

What kind of message do our clothes send?
Because of the dinner, I can almost guarantee I won't make the BOE meeting where one of the hot topics is implementing a dress code at the high school. (If you plan to go, remember it is at JFK school in Raritan).  The dinner ends at 7:30, so even if everyone is gone by 8pm, I promise I'll be in my pajamas, horizontal on a sofa by the time JFK is filled with community members saying the Pledge (of Allegiance).

There may be talk of the contract, which is still being deliberated by the B-REA and BOE. (In a nutshell: 0% raise for 2011-2012, then 2.9% raise for each year 2012-2015).

But the meat of the meeting will be the dress code. This is the only time I can remember that an invitation to a BOE meeting requesting parental feedback has come into my inbox. Here's my 2 cents:

Tasteful & short but how do we put that into policy?
BRMS dress code is excellent - clear and reasonable. I'd like to see the high school similar but a bit loosened. They are in high school, after all, and should be allowed more freedoms.

However: my daughter found BRMS's code biased against taller girls. Her argument is that since it is based on inches above the knee, taller girls cannot wear the same skirts that normal girls can wear. A simple remedy would be to have the length decided by using hand-length instead. This also reduces questions on "where on the knee do you begin".  If kids can touch the end of the skirt/shorts - it's acceptable. Can they not, then it's too short for Middle School?

Regarding BRHS: I think that it is fine to "expand the boundaries". Spaghetti straps are fine and shorter shorts/skirts are OK. BUT I think clothing should be tasteful. My daughter's shorts are toooo short. But since she doesn't have a dress code, it is much harder for me to police what she wears. This may be something a parent should be doing at home, but other than being short, her taste is conservative - not sexually provocative - I generally let it go. How do we legislate tasteful? We can't write "you know it when you see it" in the dress code. It is a question of what kind of image do we want kids at the high school to portray to themselves and to the community.**

No matter which school, I think teachers need to adhere to the same rules. It is hypocritical for teachers to enforce a dress code that they themselves don't (have to) follow.

In terms of boys: I REALLY don't like to see jeans half way to the knees. If it exposes more than the edging of their fruit of the looms, especially below the "department of public works", wear a      belt!

Finally something about dress code should include something about respectful messages on t-shirts. If it insults the reader is it considered "bullying" or threatening? Or is that a free speech issue?

1 comment:

Alison said...

I think that it's fairly simple: for both boys and girls: No undergarments of any kind should be visible in the outfit. That's bra straps (and, well, the bra!) for girls and also covers the hanging jeans for boys.

I also think that the length rule with the hands is sensible, everyone's body is different and if the shorts are below finger length, that's sufficient.

T-shirts are a landmine. If you are wearing a t-shirt that's got no words but is a bunch of women in semi-transparent clothing, where does that fall?