I hate my child's school dress code
There is a growing idea in society that all of society is responsible for raising our children. We all have a responsibility to teach children the right and wrong way to behave, dress, or otherwise conduct themselves. I agree with this completely -- except when it comes to the government.
School's have, for time immemorial, had dress codes for what is acceptable to wear in class. In decades past, girls were not allowed to wear pants. Boys were not allowed to wear T-shirts. As times changed, the rules changed. When I was in school, certain items were barred (T-shirts advertising illegal substances or alcohol products, for instance) and girls were not allowed to wear anything too revealing.
One blanket statement has been added to many dress codes: Anything that can be considered a distraction is not allowed.
OK, let's run with that.
Who determines what is distracting? We live in a community that still has several polygamist families. Some of these individuals are religious fundamentalist who make their own clothing and wear caps to cover their hair. It is quite obvious when an individual comes to school dressed in garb straight out of "Little House on the Prairie." Is this distracting? Are the school officials going to ask this family to dress their child in skinny jeans and a tank-top so they are more "in line" with what the other children are wearing? I suppose it could come to that, but it probably won't.
I, personally, have a transgendered daughter. The former administration of the high school was adamant that she not wear "girl's clothing" to school. Excuse me? She is a girl. She will wear what she wants to, within reason and within accordance with the guidelines. We were prepared to go the distance, involving the ACLU and other legal entities to fight for her rights, however the administration changed over the summer and the new folks are 100% on board with our daughter's rights as a human being.
Our biggest hurdle would have been the "distracting" clause, however. Is it too distracting for a child who has lived in accordance with her male biology for 10 years of schooling to suddenly appear on the first day of her Junior year in a skirt?
For the record, it wasn't. The kids are fine, thanks.
I am almost sad this was the case. Don't panic! I'm not saying that I love a confrontation: just the opposite, I loathe them. But what concerns me here is the controlling aspect of the government on raising our children. They believe that parents do not have the wherewithal to raise their own children, and therefore they must impose moral and ethical restrictions on what our children can think, say or do.
If my daughter wants to wear a trash bag to school, she should have the right to do it. So long as the important parts are covered, if she can wear it on the street, she should be able to wear it to school. It is up to the parents to decide what is, and is not, appropriate for their children. We must keep in mind that when a child wears certain outfits to school, they may be seen in a certain light. The clothes make the man, as it were.
If a girl wears micro-minis and midriff tops to school, she will get one of two types of attention for it: The kind she wants, or the kind she doesn't want. If she is getting the kind of attention that she does not want (leering, cat-calls, etc.), then she will learn for herself what is appropriate and what is not. If she is getting the kind of attention she wants (leering, cat-calls, etc.), then she will learn what she already knows - she is good for only one thing. Harsh, but true. And it is the responsibility of the parents to tell her.
If a boy wears a suit to school every day, like a friend of ours who works after school in a doctor's office, he will gain certain amounts of jeering from his peers, but respect from his teachers. If he dresses like a thug, he will gain the contempt of many and respect from few. These are lessons that children need to learn early on, to a certain respect. It is the parent's job to help them learn it, not the governments'.
Tough parenting means sometimes allowing your child to make his or her own mistakes. Learning from actual experience can be a major plus when it comes to figuring out who we want to be when we finally, eventually, and after much trial-and-error, actually grow up.