School dress codes

by Finn

Do your kids’ schools have dress codes?

The Sexism of School Dress Codes

If so, what are those codes? What do you find good and bad about them? Do the codes treat boys and girls (and others) equally? Are boys, girls, and others treated equally in enforcement of the codes? Is it difficult to find clothes that meet those codes?

What changes would you like to see in your kids’ dress codes and their implementation and enforcement?

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155 thoughts on “School dress codes

  1. I’ve never really thought about this before. My high school didn’t have a dress code but we were all pretty decent (it was the 90s so bulky was in). I just looked up the dress code for the public middle school we are zoned for and it’s really specific but also vague (like what constitutes baggy clothing?). I agree with the no undergarments showing/no midriff/no cleavage/nothing offensive rules but the other stuff seems murky.

    The following are NOT ACCEPTABLE at ANY TIME:
    • No tank tops, halter tops, tops with spaghetti straps, tops that show midriffs or cleavage
    • No sagging shorts or trousers or baggy oversized clothing
    • No mini—skirts or mini—shorts (3” of leg is all that may be uncovered above the knee)
    • No undergarments visible at any time
    • No clothing or jewelry with obscene or inappropriate messages or pictures that are offensive,
    insulting, embarrassing, sexually suggestive, obscene, gang—related or promote illegal activity
    • No clothing or jewelry containing any advertisement or display of words or symbols associated
    with alcohol, illegal drugs or tobacco products
    • No caps, hats, hoods, or bandannas. (Hoodies may be worn, but hoods must not be on the head)
    • No backpacks, coats, sunglasses, gloves, or mittens may be worn or taken in the classroom

  2. My kids both wear uniforms, but… HS uniform is either skirt or navy pants for girls (99% wear the skirt), with either a logo polo shirt (comes in 3 colors) or a cotton blouse worn un tucked, socks/tights, black shoes (one of two styles unless you have a foot exemption), and a blazer on the day they have religious services. Skirts are to be no shorter than 2 inches above the knee. Boys, select navy or grey pants with same polos or a cotton button down and two slightly different black shoe choices, add a school print tie and blazer for religious services. The main issue I see here is the inconsistent enforcement of the skirt length – though I have never seen one shorter than finger tip length.

    MS – Must wear school logo polo, bottoms can be khaki or navy pants, shorts (both genders). Girls can wear skirts or skorts or capris as well in the solid colors or the school plaid skirt or jumper. The bottoms can be bought anywhere. Any bottom that falls above the knees is not supposed to be more than 4″ off the floor when kneeling. No bottom is supposed to be skin tight as in no super skinny styles. The length and tightness is very inconsistently enforced.

    On the inconsistent enforcement, I am OK with that in the last quarter of the year. No one wants to go buy new uniforms for 6 or fewer weeks, especially for the kids who are in the highest grad the school offers. My issue with the inconsistency is it seems to be based on the child/family relationship with the teacher who identifies the violation.

  3. No…baggy oversized clothing

    I wonder if they’d send Paul Ryan home if he came to give a speech?

  4. I suppose my issue with dress codes would be inconsistent enforcement. I’m glad public schools don’t have codes like those at Anon Today’s school, because it would preclude the wearing of hand-me-downs, but if you were part of that community, you would be planning for those clothing requirements.

    Shorts 3″ above the knee look very different for someone 4′ 11″ compared to someone who is 6′ 1″, which is especially important for women.

  5. I have never understood why some parents oppose school uniforms when some public school districts have proposed changing to them.

    Uniforms (IMO) are great. They take away all the fights over appropriate wear with your children and save money in the long run.

  6. One of my microrages at the new school this year was the “no spaghetti straps” rule. Partly because it offends my sensibility of what is a necessary elementary school regulation, and partly because 2/3 of my child’s wardrobe is spaghetti strap dresses. I do think the entire dress code is all about not distracting boys (at least in our specific district) and that makes me crazy, too.

  7. I am fine with all of the items on Atlanta’s dress code list. We have uniforms in middle school, but no uniforms in high school. I am very conservative here and I’m sure I would have many clothing fights if I had a daughter. I am of the mind that dress codes are not about body shaming, but respecting your body by not showing the world so d*mn much of it.

    Even with uniforms, some of the skirts that the girls wear in DS2’s middle school are awfully short.

  8. “one of the key concerns is the implication that women should be hypercognizant about their physical identity and how the world responds to it. “The dress code makes girls feel self-conscious, ashamed, and uncomfortable in their own bodies,” says Sunseri.”

    Yeah, that. DD’s school has a fairly reasonable policy similar to Atlanta Mom’s. But it’s basically enforced against the girls — because, as the article notes, it’s almost impossible to find teen girl clothes that *don’t* involve spaghetti straps or shorts/skirts that don’t meet the length criteria or that have “distressing” that is interpreted as exposed skin above the critical level. So the end result is the girls have all learned to wear spandex under everything and bring sweaters/flannels to put over tank tops. As DD says, “because God forbid a boy ever find out that girls wear bras.” It’s all so very Victorian (an ankle! Oh, you slut!).

    The part that bugs me is that the whole justification is the “distracting to the boys” part. The girls very much get the message that their bodies are a problem; that the boys’ response to their bodies is their responsibility; that therefore, they must act and dress in a way that hides those bodies away and doesn’t draw too much attention or cause trouble; and, finally, that if there is a problem, and they haven’t been careful enough, that it’s their fault. Which all sounds just a little too close to many, many rape stories from the bad old days.

    Yes, not that the two are remotely equivalent. But if we are still raising boys and girls to believe that girls are responsible for boys’ reactions to their very existence, then why in the world would we ever be surprised when some boys grow up and take that to an extreme? We’re teaching boys from day 1 that their horniness is someone else’s problem to deal with.

  9. I have never understood why some parents oppose school uniforms

    1. The right to choose what one wears is an important personal freedom.
    2. They love dressing their kids up in cute outfits.
    3. If your daughter is an awkwardly proportioned 14 year old that looks awful in khakis and a polo shirt you’d like the option of choosing something more flattering.

  10. for my kids:

    elementary (Catholic school). Navy “khakis” + plain white polo. Girls had jumper and skirt options, but I never paid attention for obvious reasons.

    7th-12th:
    – “dress” shoes…had to have an obvious heel
    – “dress” pants or dockers style
    – belt
    – dress shirt, long or short sleeve (though IMO short sleeves do not a dress shirt make)
    – necktie or bow tie. Clip ons are ok, but any kids who wear them after about the first week of 7th grade are so insanely ridiculed that they learn how to tie a tie, or bring one in pre-tied from home and just slip it over their head before school each morning.
    – sport jacket (except in first and last months of school year), or letterman sweater once you’ve earned a varsity or academic letter in HS.
    – usual admonitions re offensive language.
    – no girls in the school, so this is more about presenting a professional environment.

  11. I don’t like that all the burden for boys reactions is the girl’s responsibility, which seems to permeate. However, we have professional dress codes even if they aren’t written.

    My girls don’t like to show much and don’t like a lot of the current super short, super tight and lower cut clothing.

    Yes, when you are part of a school that does uniforms, you plan on it and you can do hand me downs, especially the tops as the polos are also usually unisex. It is also a different mind set. My HS has 2 bottoms, 4 polos, 2 cotton tops, 1 sweater vest (always cold), 1 blazer and 1 pair of shoes. My MS has 4 bottoms, 4 polos, and the school-issued theme shirt which is worn weekly. MS also has a number of Fridays where they can wear jeans. Plus each has a school-approved hoodie that supports athletics that they can wear in the classroom. They wear bottoms more than once unless something is spilled on it. Then they have very few “regular” clothes – usually 4 changes in winter and 8 in summer.

  12. Yeah I think it’s wrong that girls are the ones most of the rules apply to. And the pic in the article of the girl in the offending top (showing he collar bones), sweater, and jeans seemed pretty normal to me.
    In HS (70s), one girl I had the hots for routinely wore short dresses/shirts and pantyhose. I know they were pantyhose because when she was sitting next to me (next row of desks) I could see the darker part at the top below the hem of her skirt. Did she dress like that for attention? Maybe/probably. But she looked goooooooood.

  13. Kids school have uniforms. In elementary school boys wear uniform shorts and golf shirt with school logo. Girls wear a blouse with a jumper. For religious services/formal dress days boys wear long pants; girls’ uniform is the same. Middle school uniform code boys – polo shirt with school logo, shorts and belt is a must. Girls – skorts with logo polo shirt. Boys – tie and dress shirt for formal days. Girls same. The girls skorts are quite long. The rules are all in the handbook. Parents and students are supposed to read and sign off on the rules. I haven’t heard of any violations.

  14. I wore a uniform (Catholic school) from 1st – 12th grades. Plaid skirt, white blouse, navy blue sweater. To this day I don’t wear navy blue.

    At my all-girls high school, pants were not permitted unless we were in gym class. In the winter, when we’d have to wait for the (city) bus to take us to school, we’d wear sweatpants under our uniforms, and then either try to sneak into the locker room in the morning or (if we heard a particularly strict nun was on duty that day) stand on the sidewalk just outside the school and take the sweatpants off. We were supposed to wear tights instead, which I hated.

    All that said, I really liked having a uniform – one less thing to think about.

    My kids all went to public school, and they had a dress code, but I don’t remember it coming up as a huge issue. I think officially the girls’ shorts were supposed to be longer than fingertip length, but this went unenforced due to the recognized difficulty in actually finding any girls’ shorts that were that long!

  15. at my Catholic high school, you could wear navy blue pants or khakis. White or blue HS logo polo shirts. Girls could wear skirts, I never bought one because they were awful, but the smart girls bought them and hemmed them. We could only wear shorts the first and fourth quarter.
    You had to wear a belt. A certain teacher would give detentions if she caught you without a belt (which I don’t think should be required for pants that fit well and won’t fall down).

  16. The only guidance at our elementary school is dress for mess. I think those kids could show up in garbage bags and tutus and no one would say a word. At my older one’s MS, there is a dress code and it was a shock to have to buy tshirts without words or pictures. According to DD, there was inconsistent enforcement of the dress code among teachers. During the last 2 weeks of the school year, the MS breaks into groups, identifies areas of improvement for the school, develops proposed solutions, and presents the options to the administration for consideration. Last year, a group of students developed new standards for dress code enforcement and they were adopted. It must be working as I have heard no dress code complaints ifrom the kids in our carpool.

    On a related note, put me in the camp of people who hate unisex polo shirts. I have the shape of a twelve year old and there is nothing that looks worse on me or makes me feel less attractive. I can’t stand when employers give them out as branded wear and want everyone to wear them. Add some khakis and change my name to Pat. Ugh.

  17. I was Anon at 12:04. Best thing about my high school was that on Aloha Fridays, we were allowed to go barefoot. My kids looked at me like I had 2 heads when I told them that. I bet the kids there have to wear shoes now.

  18. “Last year, a group of students developed new standards for dress code enforcement and they were adopted. ”

    What a great idea!

  19. Our ES does have a dress code (just looked at the online parent handbook) that’s pretty much exactly the same as the middle school one without mention of cleavage/midriff, etc. I can’t imagine it’s enforced very much which must make the transition to middle school harder.

    I think girls and boys should be penalized equally, but I’m guessing that girl clothing has more opportunity for violations than boy clothing does. I saw the comment in the article about how it’s impossible to find a skirt that complies in any of the teen stores and that’s a larger issue of teen fashion/halloween costumes, etc sexualizing young girls too much. As a parent of two girls I plan on spending some time talking about appropriate clothing for school vs. going out to a party if it ever becomes an issue.

  20. “on Aloha Fridays, we were allowed to go barefoot.”

    When I was in elementary school, the rule for footwear for boys was no slippers (I don’t remember what it was for girls). So most boys went to school barefoot; a minority of boys wore shoes. The boys who wore shoes usually took them off for recess.

  21. My own high school’s sole dress code requirement was “must wear shoes,” but when the Mr. Zog’s Sex Wax t-shirts became popular it turned out some of the teachers thought maybe there were some unwritten requirements too and there was a fuss.

    My kids’ middle school has a required school logo t-shirt, and the usual finger-length-minimum for shorts. It’s a real pain for my daughter because she has long long legs and arms, and she’s taller than I am and still growing. She usually wears basketball shorts or jeans, but it would be nice during a muggy August to be able to wear real shorts! Fortunately they don’t seem to be all that hard-ass about enforcement because even of her longer shorts, some don’t technically meet the fingertip rule although they’re much longer than what passes the rule for other girls.

    High school doesn’t have a required t-shirt, but has a dress code:

    Dress Code, includes but not limited to the following:
    1. Clothing and footwear shall be worn at all times.
    2. Backless, strapless, or halter clothing will not be allowed.
    3. Mesh, see-through, cut-outs, or laced clothing is not allowed. Sheer clothing
    is allowed with an appropriate undergarment that covers the torso.
    4. Both shoulder straps shall be at least 1 (one) inch wide on tops and dresses.
    5. Students shall not expose midriff, buttocks, cleavage, or the entire back. Tank tops including racerback tops that do not cover the entire back or expose a student’s torso are not allowed. (A bandeau may be worn for extra coverage for cleavage and armholes.)
    6. Undergarments/underwear shall remain unseen.
    7. Any clothing, jewelry or accessory, which represents drugs, tobacco, alcohol, sex, violence, obscene words, lettering, symbols or pictures, shall not be worn.
    8. Shorts, skirts, or dresses shall not be shorter than the bottom of the student’s fist when the student is standing normally with both arms extended along the side of the body. Shorts should be long enough to cover the entire buttock and pelvis while standing and sitting.
    9. A hidden violation is still a violation.
    If you wonder if it is inappropriate for school, then it probably is inappropriate for school.
    A good common sense rule is: “If in doubt, don’t wear it.”

    I suppose the fist rule is a bit better than the fingertip rule, but still.

  22. Oh, and slippers counted as shoes for the purpose of the requirement. However I did get sent home several times in early ES for coming to school barefoot.

  23. no uniform,but there is detailed dress code for the middle school in my town. they wills end kids home, or ask the kids to get something out of their gym locker to wear if it violates the policy.

    I don’t remember much about uniforms when I went to public school in the 70s and 80s, but I had the grossest gym uniform. Picture a one piece prison jump suit that has shorts instead of pants. it was nasty.

    I interviewed a HS senior last week from a nearby town and she is the Editor in chief of here school newspaper. I asked her about articles that they are working on for the current issue, and she said the main story is about the dress code. The reporting states that they think the dress code discriminates against girls, so they are working with their faculty advisor to make sure the reporting is balanced.

  24. “We’re teaching boys from day 1 that their horniness is someone else’s problem to deal with.” I really don’t think it is discriminating against girls. I think it is just that girls are the ones who are showing more skin. If one of the boys showed up in a half shirt and short shorts or pants that were so tight you could see his man business I’m sure that would not be allowed.

  25. “the usual finger-length-minimum for shorts”

    This is a rule that doesn’t seem to make sense (neither does the fist length rule). Kids’ arms aren’t all proportionately the same length. And what about a kid with no arms?

  26. “I think officially the girls’ shorts were supposed to be longer than fingertip length, but this went unenforced due to the recognized difficulty in actually finding any girls’ shorts that were that long!”

    This is one practical issue I’ve run into when taking DS shopping. It is not easy to find shorts that long, especially for kids around middle school age that are stretching out.

  27. Our school which is preschool through 8th grade has a very loosely enforced dress code that I have never really seen enforced. It’s not much of an issue for me with a 2nd grade boy. A lot of the public elementary schools have polo shirts or t shirts which have to be worn with navy pants. I could definitely get on board with that – I doubt my kid would care. He puts on whatever is on top in his drawer & doesn’t really care what it looks like.

    When I was in Jr High & HS, the dress code was mostly around no vulgar language (like the Sex Wax t shirts) and no drug/alcohol/tobacco references. This was when Spuds Mackenzie was all over Budweiser commercials and Marlboro/Camel still gave out branded swag. I don’t remember anything about short skirts/spaghetti straps. But that wasn’t really all the rage in the late 80’s/early 90’s. And the weather didn’t really allow for wearing of those types of shirts beyond the first week of school anyway.

  28. “Oh and I saw a fella who felt like Milo today. Convertible jag.”

    Convertible jag? No way. I’ve got half a mind to make lagirl an offer on her 150,000 mile Corolla.

  29. “No backpacks, coats, sunglasses, gloves, or mittens may be worn or taken in the classroom”

    Did the school really write this? While I can see a rule against taking stuff, I don’t see why that’s only limited to the classroom.

    Perhaps they meant “into the classroom” rather than “in the classroom.”

    Assuming “into,” I don’t see this working at my kids’ school, where it seems to be assumed that each kid will have a backpack.

  30. When I was a kid, we had a dress code. Boys couldn’t wear jeans, and girls had to wear skirts or dresses. No sneakers. Lord, how I hated that dress code. Itchy scratchy tights in the winter, bare legs with no protection in the spring and fall. Or worse, knee socks that fell down. At least the boys could run and play. We couldn’t. When we moved to Germany, I discovered the school had no dress code, and we could pants to school. Better yet, virtually all girls did. No jeans, mainly because in Germany of that era, they didn’t SELL kids jeans. But we lived in cords. When we came back to the US, I was in junior high and they had just eliminated the dress code the year before, Yes, yes, yes! I did not wear another skirt to school for 4 years. I lived in jeans.

    So I am very anti dress codes. Having said that, I am also disturbed by the sexualization of girls clothing, which happens earlier and earlier. I don’t like some of what I see the middle school girls wearing. I know there is a lot of pressure on them to conform, but they are playing with fire, and not necessarily, at age 11 or 12, understanding it. And don’t think that school uniforms are a panacea – I see lots of Catholic school girls in skirts so short that I can tell the color of their underwear. I feel sorry for these girls, pressured to dress like this so early, before they realize the messages they are sending,.

  31. Finn – that’s verbatim. I know in ES, they hang their backpacks outside the classroom but am surprised they would do that in middle school.

  32. And I detest school uniforms. The cheap public school ones make the kids all look like McDonalds employees. The expensive prep school ones are simply smarmy, and prone to the kind of one-up-manship among girls with regards to skirt lengths and other little subtle markers.

  33. When I was in junior high, boys used to wear marijuana leaf Tshirts. That would never fly now…

  34. Both my kids love their sweatshirts – the MS teachers mentioned that kids use their sweatshirts like a security blanket. They have to forbid wearing of sweatshirts after the spring. A sweatshirt hides three quarters of kid.

  35. I grew up wearing uniforms – even the youngest kids wore one to school. I see it as one less headache school administrators have to deal with. If the teachers have to deal with all these non academic issues when will they actually have the time and energy to teach kids.

  36. Wine, is your Prius still on its original battery pack? That would be a datum for LAGirl to consider in her car search.

  37. I didn’t realize how great wearing a uniform was until I got to college and had to dress myself in something requiring thought every day. My kids both had/have uniforms. At my son’s school it is the standard polo with jeans or khakis. No baggy jeans, at one point was no skinny jeans, but I don’t know if that still stands. Everyone must wear a belt, appropriate shoes, only single ear piercing, no visible tattoos (teachers included), no funky haircuts. I think uniforms simplify life. I am of a mixed opinion on dress codes targeting girls. I don’t think a collarbone showing is an issue, but some girls really push it. No, it’s not your job to police boys’ attention spans, but if the parents aren’t going to tell their 12 year old daughter that she is not prepared for the attention that a particular outfit is going to bring, then maybe the school feels forced to. I think the student-driven code enforcement is a great idea.

  38. I wore uniforms for 10 years, and I never really minded it, except for the hats. I never liked any of the hats. I didn’t like the way they looked or the way they felt, so I’m glad to be rid of that part.

  39. costs about 3500 with labor, we are definitely still on the same battery, we have had the car for 7.5 years, looks like this might be a big expense for us soon

  40. Wine, from what I’ve heard, the battery issue you are more likely to experience with a prius is with a small battery that runs the electronics of your car. Apparently the typical life of that battery is less than that of the batteries that provide the energy to propel your car.

    Maybe that was your expensive service visit at 100k miles.

  41. looks like this might be a big expense for us soon

    My understanding is in most cases the battery lasts for the life of car. IIRC they have a bunch of Prius taxis in Vancouver that have +350k all on the original battery.

  42. One of my fashion achievements from this blog is realizing that I could choose more flattering shirts than unisex polos. I had already been giving my men’s large ones (what vendors always give) to Mr. WCE because they were too big, but thanks to L, I look for polos/shirts that are designed for women.

    When I was home with Baby WCE during the spitup stage, I still wore my old men’s XL advertising shirts, though. :)

  43. My older son, who started Kindergarten this fall, wears a uniform to his parochial school. It made school shopping super easy as the uniform company set up shop one weekend in the school gym, we bought 5 polo shirts and 5 pairs of khakis, and called it good. The school is flexible on where the clothing items are purchased and a lot of acceptable tops and bottoms are available from Target, Old Navy, Lands End, etc., so if we need replacement items, they will be easy to get as long as the school colors are available. There is also a vigorous secondary market for used school uniform items. The girls have more choices in skirts, jumpers, etc. to the point that sometimes every girl in his small class seems to be wearing something different, though all are still in uniform. My son is not particular about his clothing and is happy to wear the uniform as a point of pride, though I’m sure he’ll be sick of it by 8th grade. I believe the school enforces uniform rules pretty strictly, but they also have a lot of spirit days where they are allowed “free” or themed dress. I attended catholic school and wore a uniform (plaid skirt/jumper, white blouse) from K-12. If I recall correctly, after a certain age, we were all distracted by members of the opposite gender, regardless of what everyone was wearing.

  44. Also – on the girls – I don’t have them so I may be missing a piece here…but how is requiring them to wear shirts with sleeves/collars any different than requiring boys to wear shirts with sleeves and/or collars? I assume these schools wouldn’t let the boys wear tank tops either? Isn’t it just sending a message that a more formal attire is required? I would not wear spaghetti straps to work or other places with dress codes (golf course, church service, etc.). It seems reasonable to me that school would have the same requirement. I am genuinely asking, not trying to provoke.

  45. pants that were so tight you could see his man business

    My older son wears pants like that routinely because he’s too cheap to buy new jeans so he doesn’t consider them outgrown until he physically cannot zip them up. These jeans also end above his ankles. AFAIK he hasn’t heard word one about the tightness of his pants.

  46. “Convertible jag? No way. I’ve got half a mind to make lagirl an offer on her 150,000 mile Corolla.”
    Well, he looked dashing and carefree in any event.

    Honolulu – i don’t have a delicate response to your post. I’ll let you have the last word on that one. Was thinking of you this weekend as I watched this Hawaii kayak fishing show thing on Discovery.

  47. If one of the boys showed up in a half shirt and short shorts or pants that were so tight you could see his man business I’m sure that would not be allowed.

    They have bans on boys having their underwear showing. I assume that’s just as much about sexual signaling as girls showing a lot of cleavage. But, the rule isn’t presented in a sexual manner.

    I bet if it became fashionable for teen boys to wear short shorts and midriff tops it would presented as an issue of juvenile rebellion, excessive casualness, etc. not a sexual issue.

  48. it became fashionable for teen boys to wear short shorts and midriff tops

    AKA the 80s.

  49. Yes, I interpret the rules as prohibiting clothes that demonstrate excessive casualness, not a statement on sexuality.

  50. “I bet if it became fashionable for teen boys to wear short shorts and midriff tops”

    If? Considering the cyclical nature of fashion, perhaps the question is more one of when. Perhaps many of you are too young to remember that there was a time when short shorts (aka John Stockton shorts) and bare midriff shirts (we used to call them cut shirts) were in vogue for males.

    This was in the early 80s. In National Lampoon’s Vacation (the original, going to Wally World), one of the cousins they visited dressed like that.

  51. I will say that cut shirts were very practical here. Besides being cooler than longer shirts, they were great to wear to the beach; you could put them on after swimming, and they wouldn’t wick the water from your shorts.

  52. This one kinda skeevy guy in my high school did not wear underwear beneath his cut-off shorts — this was clearly visible to anyone sitting in his vicinity. Now THAT was distracting. And not in a sexy way.

  53. HM, what’s the difference between that and Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct?

    On a largely unrelated note, I am shocked to find “leggings” the primary bottom for female toddlers. When your underwear is Huggies or Pampers, there’s really nothing to show off.

  54. “I have never understood why some parents oppose school uniforms when some public school districts have proposed changing to them.”

    We’ve been in two districts that proposed uniforms and were defeated by organized parents. In both districts, the opposition leader’s public reason was “but poor people would have to buy all new clothes!” but the private reasoning was “but my sister hands down such great designer clothes to my daughter, and she loves pink!”

  55. HFN,

    I’d also add that for many people having kids all dress the same feels somewhat menacing in a Hitler Youth sort of way.

  56. My sister would love a uniform for my nieces. The drama in the morning over what to wear is pretty tiring (and they are only 4 and 6 years old).

  57. WCE, I don’t know, is there a difference? Other than the displayer’s perceived attractiveness, I guess — 20-something movie star versus mid-teens boy who hadn’t yet mastered basic grooming standards.

  58. This post came about due to a confluence of me reading the article and a discussion with DS of his school’s dress code.

    DS found the dress code presentation he sat through very offensive to him and most of his male schoolmates. The message he got was that he and his male mates are unable to control their horniness and treat their female counterparts with respect if their female classmates were dressing in a manner inconsistent with the dress code, and he found such low expectations offensive. He also pointed out the corollary, that the communicated expectations also meant that if they encountered their female classmates outside of school, not following dress codes, the school expectation was that the male classmates would act inappropriately and not treat their female classmates with respect, e.g., be unable to control their horniness.

    This led me to wonder whether such communicated expectations are common in other schools, and are contributing to the reported high levels of $ex assault in colleges.

    DS did not have much of a problem with the dress code itself, which has one set of standards for all students. He did take issue with enforcement. Enforcement action has rarely if ever been taken against males, and those actions mainly involved cross-dressing, which is not a violation of the dress code as written, although most of them occurred on Halloween and did involve clothing that violated the dress code, although often in ways that have not triggered enforcement when not combined with cross-dressing. Nearly all enforcement actions have been against females.

  59. The message he got was that he and his male mates are unable to control their horniness

    Is that the actual (unwritten rule) concern? Or is it more about the teachers and administrators being uncomfortable. The heavy set matrons are jealous and the male staff is having trouble controlling their impure thoughts.

  60. I think it is wrong to evaluate the dress codes to see if they feel reasonable. I think one should recognize a fundamental freedom of speech and expression, and only curtail that if necessary for proper functioning of the school.

    US Supreme Court decisions define the scope of the First Amendment in public school settings. Public schools must have a valid basis to limit free speech rights, and can’t act on an undifferentiated fear or apprehension. Schools can:

    – Limit speech based on a reasonable expectation that it will cause a material and substantial disruption of school activities or invade the rights of others
    – Prohibit obscene or vulgar language

    I think the school must demonstrate that a girl wearing spaghetti straps (or G-d Forbid! A Racerback Tank) causes a substantial disruption of school activities. The only way to argue that it is disruptive is to argue that it causes bad behavior in boys, and that can only be stopped if you cover up the girls.

    I do think we are talking about basic freedom of speech issues. I don’t want my daughters over-sexualized – however, I am not handing that definition and responsibility over to the state.

  61. My sister would love a uniform for my nieces. The drama in the morning over what to wear is pretty tiring (and they are only 4 and 6 years old).

    I don’t understand this. If the clothes are inappropriate, then don’t have them available.

  62. “Is that the actual (unwritten rule) concern?”

    Apparently that is what was communicated.

    “Or is it more about the teachers and administrators being uncomfortable.”

    I think much of the current dress code was driven by parents about 10 years ago.

  63. I think the dress codes are fine. Girls clothes have become over-sexualized – that’s the point of showing more skin and underwear – and I think school dress codes should oppose that. I hate the argument that girls shouldn’t be responsible for boys being “distracted” by what they are wearing. Yes they should. It’s like women who wear tops that emphasize their bust and then complain about men staring at their breasts.

  64. The clothing is not inappropriate, it’s the selection of socks, dresses, sweaters, leggings, etc that is the point of frustration. They are picky and things must match, or they must wear Frozen, or Tinkerbell, or pink, or whatever. Selecting clothes the night before has lessened the drama a bit, but there is always a last minute change of mind.

  65. Ah, that makes sense. I thought it was similar to the discussion I had with Twin 2 about shorts. “November is not a month for shorts. Please wear long pants.”

  66. Girls clothes have become over-sexualized – that’s the point of showing more skin and underwear – and I think school dress codes should oppose that.

    Isn’t that something best left up to the parents? Is it really the proper role of the state?

  67. I would oppose school uniforms vehemently, not because my kids are well dressed (they live in jeans and tees), but because I would hate to make them dress like fast food employees every day.

  68. I like school uniforms. I don’t think clothing generally = speech and I am fine with reasonable limitations so that kids are neither too casual nor too revealing.

  69. I agree 100% with LfB. Teaching girls that their bodies are a Problem is a PROBLEM. Also organizing dress codes with the inspiration (even if unconscious) being the heterosexual male gaze is a PROBLEM. Gah.

    That said, I also think that the manufacturers making girls’ clothes hyper-sexualized at a young age is also a problem. Would love to see a return of more unisex-looking clothes (like the 70s? early 80s? but not so much fringe!) for kids.

  70. L, I’ve saved some of my less-boyish boy T-shirts for my daughter and for the sizes I had already given away, I may purchase more T-shirts from the boys’ section.

    Green T-shirts with elephants are sufficiently gender neutral for me.

  71. I was thinking about this and watching people on the street as I walked out for lunch and it occurred to me that it’s not just a matter of girls’ clothing showing more skin than boys’; women’s versus men’s clothing is different too. I saw any number of professional-looking women who would have flunked some of those dress codes — sleeveless tailored sheaths (in fact most dresses of any style were sleeveless), lots of collarbones showing. But they looked business- appropriate. Whereas the ladies who clearly passed all the dress codes were a bunch of older tourist ladies wearing those big oversized woven shirts (collars and 3/4 sleeves) with baggy capris, who did not look businesslike. So it’s not as simple as “well, they all should be dressing formally for school and the dress code reflects that” since a lot of what is sold as women’s business wear is sleeveless and collarless. And yes, a woman might have a jacket available to wear over a dress just as a man might have a jacket to wear over a shirt, but when the jacket is off during the day, the fact is that the women’s business dresses or tops are often sleeveless and the men’s aren’t, because that’s what’s the current standard for business wear. It’s like we’re blaming girls for the fact that our culture has different mainstream clothing styles for men and for women, and for boys and for girls.

  72. Sleeveless makes a lot of sense here, especially with the weather we’ve been having.

    Our governments waste a lot of money on electricity for AC by having lawyers wear suits in court. We should be more like our businesses, and Bermuda, and let lawyers wears dressy shirts and aloha shirts in court, or sleeveless dresses.

  73. . . . . wait. Business don’t run AC? The glass towers in downtown must have a truly remarkable microclimate then.

  74. Isn’t that something best left up to the parents? Is it really the proper role of the state?

    Yes it is the proper role. I think most people accept that there should be a minimum standard for dress in schools, so then it’s a matter of debate over what that standard should be. IMO, the schools are the ones who should determine it.

  75. @Mooshi – I really don’t think the kids look like fast food employees. Any number of businesses have uniforms right from the doctors, hairdressers, grocery store employees, construction workers and other businesses also have dress codes that are appropriate for their work environments and the customers they serve. I don’t think any of these organizations can be accused of infringing on people’s freedom of speech and expression.

  76. Anon,

    No one is forced by the government to work at a grocery store or at McDonalds. If you’re a certain age and your parents aren’t into home schooling then the government forces you to go to school. That’s a big difference.

  77. Meh. The government forces me to do plenty of stuff. Forcing kids to wear clothes to school that conceal an appropriate amount of flesh is not worth getting riled up about.

  78. WCE, I hope for your sake that your DD does not share my DD’s inexplicable love for sparkly pink and purple dresses, feather boas, and tutus…mine definitely did not get it from me!

    Our morning clothing battles center on whether her selected outfit is (a) appropriate for the activity (no church clothes on art class or gym day and vice versa), (b) weather-appropriateness, and (c) whether it matches enough not to hurt me to look at it.

    I try to deal with (b) by rotating the seasonal clothes to storage but the weather here is widely variable in spring and fall. (C) is basically a lost cause.

  79. Sky, Twin 2 wore his orange sweatpants with his green Minecraft shirt for his field trip yesterday. Orange is his favorite color and he is the ONLY one of my boys who wants orange [Osh Kosh] sweat pants.

    I wake up with nightmares that Baby WCE will wind up competing for Homecoming Queen and wanting me to do her hair… Mr. WCE will likely be the French braid parent in our household.

  80. Sky — My daughter has an…um…unusual sense of style. Over time, I’ve learned not just to accept her love of clashing clothes, but to embrace it. I look forward to seeing her come out of her room every morning so that I can check out the wacky outfit that she’s selected for the day.

  81. WCE,

    Buses, clocks, antiquated telecommunications technology, security guards and cars are UNIX* in your world?

    * I tried to write unisex but it autocorrected to UNIX so I think my point has been made,

  82. “Business don’t run AC?”

    They do, but they don’t all require their male employees to wear suits. Local business wear (long pants, aloha shirts and shoes for men) makes a lot more sense here and wastes a lot less electricity on AC, although IMO a more Bermuda-like dress code would save even more, and probably be more comfortable for most women.

  83. I agree 100% with LfB. Teaching girls that their bodies are a Problem is a PROBLEM. Also organizing dress codes with the inspiration (even if unconscious) being the heterosexual male gaze is a PROBLEM. Gah.

    That said, I also think that the manufacturers making girls’ clothes hyper-sexualized at a young age is also a problem. Would love to see a return of more unisex-looking clothes (like the 70s? early 80s? but not so much fringe!) for kids.

    You’re trying to have it both ways here. Girls wearing sexualized clothing is either a problem or it’s not. You’re saying it’s a problem for manufacturers to make it, but not a problem for girls to wear it.

  84. What Rhett said. That’s why, at least IMO, private schools can (or at leash should be able to) have much more restrictive dress codes than public schools.

  85. Anon, I tend to agree with LfB. At a very minimum, boys need to be held responsible for behaving appropriately regardless of how girls dress. But even if that were to happen, that doesn’t make it OK for young girls’ clothes to be hyper-sexualized.

  86. @WCE – I found it interesting when I was prepping for my first child, whose gender I didn’t know, that there seems to be very little cheap clothing that is truly gender neutral (yellow duck onesies), but lots of very expensive clothing that was. In just the last decade, I think Carter’s has added more words to their onesie sets (Daddy’s little slugger, Mommy’s Favorite Flower) and eliminated the more neutral stuff.

    Anyway, I find it pretty sad that leggings are apparently not an appropriate legware choice for toddler boys – I think they are very practical and I have bunches.

  87. I find sweatpants with “Juicy” written across the bottom to be far worse than visible bra straps. They are probably explicitly forbidden in some dress codes – but I think they have been out of fashion for about 5 years. The dress codes are never going to keep up, and I don’t think it is okay to outsource this part of parenting.

  88. Ada, what brand of leggings do you buy that hold up as well as sweat pants? It seems like one fall in leggings and the knee would be ripped, because they’re so lightweight. But we’re not at the falling stage yet.

  89. “I find sweatpants with “Juicy” written across the bottom to be far worse than visible bra straps.”

    What if the sweatpants were to have something pretty benign written across the bottom?

  90. WCE – my DD would wear that T shirt. However. I usually search by gender and then by size while online shopping – hardly make it to the stores these days, so if it didn’t come up in one of my searches I wouldn’t see it. Usually both kids are happy with what I buy them – sometimes older kid will look online and let me know he wants. Buying clothes outside of uniform is limited.

  91. It seems like schools could keep all the rules that they have in place for clothing, and if they just changed their justifications from “they’re a distraction” to “they’re not appropriate,” everyone would be happy.

  92. ^ Yes, because otherwise girls seem to believe it’s all their fault when boys get distracted by their skimpy attire. Furthermore, we simply need for boys to stop getting distracted. :)

    I support school choice for everyone, something like backpack education funding. Then one family can send their kids to nudist schools and another family can go all out Duggar if they so wish.

  93. Our school had a problem with enforcing its “leggings are not pants” rule. My casual observation was that some girls were going over the top with wearing leggings that easily revealed what type of underwear style they favored. But I’m not a good judge since I’m still not fully used to the idea of women wearing skin tight pants/leggings everywhere.

  94. If we are complaining about the type of clothes available for girls – who is buying these outfits ? If there wasn’t demand marketers wouldn’t continue to market and sell these clothes.
    Personally leggings are not flattering on me – as I am short with a pear shape. Tall, slim women OTOH look good in them.

  95. Anon, of course. You are not forced to buy what the manufacturers make. However, as a design choice, I would prefer if the girls’ clothes available didn’t try to emphasize body parts that children *do not have* – it doesn’t make any sense. However, we have mandatory schooling. If a public school has a mandatory dress code with the implicit message to girls that they should cover their problematic bodies, that is a big problem.

    WCE – I find that the Lands’ End leggings we have are very good, followed by Hanna Andersson – they have thicker fabric. (I note that my girls don’t tend to get holes in pants super often, though.) When they were younger they would grow out of stuff before running holes in it, but the Carters, Old Navy, and (especially) Tea leggings are much poorer quality and my DD started putting holes in those around age 5-6.

  96. “If a public school has a mandatory dress code with the implicit message to girls that they should cover their problematic bodies, that is a big problem.”

    The message is that everyone should cover the same areas. If you take away the language about “distraction,” then any further interpretations have no justification.

  97. I usually agree with LfB and L about these things, so I am curious as to why I feel so differently about clothing. I think the message should be to keep your body somewhat covered. Not because you are responsible for how the boys react, but because you should respect yourself. And if you don’t yet because you are of an age where this isn’t on your radar or you are actively rebelling against this, it is my job as a parent to set the correct parameters. And I appreciate the school helping with this by setting a dress code that requires children to dress respectfully and modestly.

  98. “You’re trying to have it both ways here.”

    No. It’s actually two sides of the same coin: the hyper-focus on girls’ bodies. Here we have manufacturers selling “show what you got” clothes to girls who are way too young to be sexualized (or may be developing the body but not the maturity to handle it). And then on the other hand we have schools shaming these girls for doing that very thing. Both sides are telling the girls that it’s all about sexy, and being sexy is massively powerful — so powerful that we can’t even let you near a teenage boy without forcing you to put on the teen equivalent of a housecoat.

    The only thing I agree with DD on is that some level of standards is appropriate, and we are just arguing about how much. But I have a big problem with letting the schools decide that, because schools have an extremely long history of ignoring the S.Ct.’s instruction that it must be a significant distraction. I go back to what HM said: at DD’s school, most current women’s business attire would fail. Forget spaghetti straps — you can’t even wear a tank top, even if bra straps are fully covered. If a teenage girl with a B or C cup in a tank top with no visible bra is too much of a “distraction,” the problem isn’t with the girl wearing it. (And I agree with Finn’s son on this — it’s insulting to teen boys, too).

    I do agree with Milo that I’d be fine if they want to focus on professional or dressier attire. But then half of the rules would need to go, because most women’s attire involves camisoles and sleeveless tops and — gasp — even some skirts above the knee.

  99. LfB – I think that you and HM are not being realistic when you argue that, because professional women can wear sleeveless (camisoles?) appropriately, there’s no reason to be concerned about what sleeveless items 12-year-olds might wear to school.

    Recognizing that those two situations are not identical, the schools can either pass a blanket rule against sleeveless shirts/tops that applies equally to boys and girls (because are we still saying that tank tops or “wife-beaters” are not OK for boys?), or they can usher in the scenario where middle school vice principals are scrutinizing how much of a girl’s bra or breasts they can see in the hallways, and making subjective and uncomfortable determinations about it. I think the blanket rule just makes more sense.

  100. The dress code has been a source of irritation in our house for years, until the daughters got to high school, where it is ignored. Several years ago, someone got their panties in a bunch over logos on shirts. So, any decoration larger than a fist is outlawed. In practical terms, this means, no tractors or flowers on the kindergartners shirts because it might be gang related. No pictures of elephants or giraffes allowed either. At one point, someone tried to outlaw capris. WTF?Some years ago, in another part of the state, a junior high kid was suspended because she has Tigger on her socks.

    Most irritating were the back to school nights where some school official would stand up, in an outfit that violated the dress code and say that the dress code wasn’t too difficult to follow. In practice, it is enforced when a teacher or official has a bad day or is mad at a kid or parent.

    In regards to dressing provocatively, consider girls volleyball, where the uniform includes spandex shorts, basically underwear, with nothing over them. That is ok for high school girls, but six year olds can’t wear spaghetti straps when the weather is over 100 degrees.

  101. “Here we have manufacturers selling “show what you got” clothes to girls who are way too young to be sexualized (or may be developing the body but not the maturity to handle it).”

    They wouldn’t be making it if it wasn’t selling. I don’t think the problem is the girls, I think the problem is the parents. The recent Homecoming dance blew my mind. 14 and 15 year old girls dressed like they were “working” in Vegas. The hemlines were horribly short and the shoes. There was no way that they could sit without providing a health class diagram. I don’t know why the parents allow it. You can find more appropriate dresses. I told my daughter. You can dress that way when you are 18 and out of my house. The irony is that the girls with the more reasonable dresses (A-line or longer length) really stood out in the pictures. I think a lot of the moms are dressing vicariously through their daughters.

  102. @Cat — well, to be fair, my knee-jerk is First Amendment. I may be happy to support government in its “helping people” role (e.g., paying taxes to support social programs), but I think gov’t control over individual expression is appropriately constrained by the Bill of Rights. And I have a serious distrust of quasi-governmental institutions that do not have checks and balances or people to answer to. When the gov’t writes rules, they go in the Federal Register, they have a public notice and comment period, the agency has to fully evaluate and respond to all comments, and if they don’t do all of that correctly and follow the law and all, you can appeal to the courts. Schools basically just get to do what they want, and barring a major problem that brings the ACLU in, kids that disagree are generally in no position to challenge those decisions. I don’t trust bureaucracies in general, and I sure don’t trust those with unfettered discretion (and a crappy history of how they exercise it) to exercise that discretion appropriately. So I will admit that I maybe get more exercised about this issue than a normal person would.

    But the other thing is that my objections have grown since DD hit MS, and I watched my pre-teen and young teen get insulted and hurt and angry. When I first saw the dress codes, I basically said, eh, annoying but not too bad, she can learn to dress appropriately for the occasion, suck it up a little bit, etc. And the irony is that she is incredibly and naturally modest — we got shopping and it’s hard for her to find something that she is comfortable in, because the shorts are too short, or the top is too low, etc. But now she comes home from school fuming that the girls have to be so careful and covered up, because it’s their job to protect those crazy boys (which she interprets as It’s All About The Boys). She got dress coded one day because her shorts had that fraying/distressed look in front that one teacher interpreted as exposing thigh (funny, she had worn them dozens of times before with no problem, and they were one of the few pairs we could fine that were long enough to meet the criteria). She called me in tears from the Principal’s office — yes, let’s take a vulnerable teen girl who is already embarrassed enough about her changing body, call her out in front of the class, and remove her from the actual instruction until mom can get there with a new pair of shorts.

    So what I thought was a non-issue has become a major factor to her. She spends a lot of time figuring out outfits that will please all of the teachers, and it has made her extremely self-conscious and even more concerned about hiding her body — all right at the time that we want her to develop confidence and grow into the strong and powerful woman she can be. And that makes me angry.

  103. Moxiemom, It is hard to find reasonable dresses for teenage girls, but it is possible. I think you are right about the moms. For years, it was more fun to dress my daughters than myself, because, honestly, i never looked like they do, and I never looked at good in clothes as they do.

  104. This entire conversation supports Wells’ 1984 dress code- gray jump suits for all. Universal uniform.

    Obviously I have nothing intelligent to add. I agree with uniforms but I spent all but 2 years of k-12 in a uniform and loved how drama free it was. And how clean my closet was.

  105. LfB, I had the same issues with my daughters. And, in reality, girls do growth spurts as well as boys, and sometimes what fit last week is tight this week, and there isn’t always time to get to the store.

  106. “In regards to dressing provocatively, consider girls volleyball, where the uniform includes spandex shorts, basically underwear, with nothing over them.”

    Yeah. When I played in HS, our “shorts” were basically black bathing-suit bottoms, like spandex shorts without the legs. So from 7-2, my shorts had to go below my fingertips; but then they forced me to parade out in public, in front of hundreds of people, in a freaking bathing suit. Atrocious.

    @Milo — well, that takes us back to mixed motives. If the purpose is dress professionally/more formally, then the rules should be different for men and women, reflecting the differences in accepted professional attire. If the purpose is avoiding distraction, then the rules need to be as minimal as possible to meet the “significant distraction” standard — a/k/a “no boob.” I’d even settle for “no visible underwear.” But I just don’t see a problem with either boys or girls wearing tank tops that meet those criteria.

  107. I was busy yesterday, My girls had very different teen bodies. One AA no curves and one DD va voom. The first one could wear glorified slips and look not particularly enticing. The other had so much unwanted attention from the age of 13 that she wore oversized shirts and baggy pants all through us and cross dressed for her prom.

    I dislike school dress codes, but like uniforms in theory.

  108. Schools are educational institutions, I agree the uniform calls to mind 1984 images, hitler youth, or prison wear.

    The term “institutionalization” is widely used in social theory to refer to the process of embedding something (for example a concept, a social role, a particular value or mode of behavior) within an organization, social system, or society as a whole. The term may also be used to refer to committing a particular individual to an institution, such as a mental institution. To this extent, “institutionalization” may carry negative connotations regarding the treatment of, and damage caused to, vulnerable human beings by the oppressive or corrupt application of inflexible systems of social, medical, or legal controls by publicly owned, private or not-for-profit organizations.

    The term “institutionalization” may also be used in a political sense to apply to the creation or organization of governmental institutions or particular bodies responsible for overseeing or implementing policy, for example in welfare or development.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institution

  109. Are there really 1st amendment issues? Admittedly, I don’t really follow things like this, but I thought the Sup Ct expressly said that things like skirt length do not implicate the first amendment. Very different from clothing that has been held to do so (like arm bands). But if they have decided that it is implicated, I will get suitably outraged!

  110. I tend to agree with Cat, but then I’m naturally modest in dress and have had basically the same style since high school. So where do teens/tweens shop these days? I’m looking at the J.Crew/Johnnie B stuff and it looks pretty ok with the dress codes, aside from some length issues on some of the dresses (which it seems you could get around with leggings or tights.)

    WCE – L is right on about the leggings that don’t rip. Tea Collection is the worst for that and Hanna is the best I’ve found and my girls are very tough on their clothing.

    For Halloween, my 8 year old wanted to be Raven Queen and the costume looked like this..

    http://www.partycity.com/product/girls+raven+queen+costume+supreme+ever+after+high.do

    I was struggling as to how to explain to her that she just couldn’t wear something like that and my friend said just say “it’s inappropriate” and that’s it. So that’s what I did because I don’t think an 8 year old can really understand why she shouldn’t dress like that on Halloween, but that is a lot of what’s out there.

  111. (Sonorously) The Bible tells us, “If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out and cast it from thee.” Since my own junior high school days, I have proposed providing the boys with ice picks to stab out their own eyes if they find girls’ bodies distracting. Beats hell out of calling out my lovely friend Lisa in social studies and telling her to go home and put on a bra. Hey Mr. Trowbridge, here’s an ice pick for you too. You and the boys can just go jerk off in the shower, but I don’t know if Lisa ever got over it. Fuck that shit.

  112. LfB:) You’re right! I’ll have to tell my 8 year old it was appropriate after all!

  113. @RMS: Or you can go Golda Meir on their ass:

    “When Israel was experiencing an epidemic of violent rapes and someone at a cabinet meeting suggested women be put under curfew until the rapists were caught, Meir shot back, “Men are committing the rapes. Let them be put under curfew.””

  114. This conversation makes me think that it would be a lot simpler just to mandate uniforms in all schools and call it a day.

  115. I’m with Rocky and LfB on this. If the reason is not to distract boys, let’s just require burqas and be done with it.

  116. As long as the boys wear burqas too. Would *love* to see this in the Middle East–men having to live by the same rules as women.

  117. What if the sweatpants were to have something pretty benign written across the bottom?

    We have a no-words-on-clothes rule at my house. (Actually, from DH). While I am opposed to state sponsored tsk-tsking, I am all about parent sponsored totalitarianism.

    I have to say I agree with Houston – I think that uniforms are less objectionable than dress codes.

  118. Educate me, please. What’s objectionable about that costume? Is it the tight bodice? The part that might suggest S&M?

  119. LfB – GAHHHHHHHH. How awful that your DD is spending so much time thinking about the dress code and what won’t offend teachers. Jesus H. Christ. Makes me glad for my super laissez-faire HS where nobody cared about what we wore.

  120. It’s funny, on this topic our conservatives are assuming that school personnel will use their discretion to enforce a broad dress code in a reasonable way that cuts kids some slack and doesn’t shame them, whereas our more liberal wing sees it as a tool for the school’s myrmidons to punish kids (girls) they dislike since you can find fault with most outfits.

    I have to say, I’m not aware of any egregious dress-code incidents at my kids schools, although at the middle school the guard the kids call “Auntie Evil” has a passion for strict enforcement of all school rules written and unwritten.

  121. It’s funny, on this topic our conservatives are assuming that school personnel will use their discretion to enforce a broad dress code in a reasonable way that cuts kids some slack and doesn’t shame them, whereas our more liberal wing sees it as a tool for the school’s myrmidons to punish kids (girls) they dislike since you can find fault with most outfits.

    umm, I’m a conservative and I see the dress code as a way to punish kids the myrmidons dislike.

  122. Believe it or not, I didn’t see your post until I posted mine just now! You had occurred to me as a counter-example and I came back to mention it without refreshing first.

  123. I’m a moderate conservative willing to trust the school to enforce a reasonable dress code that should be limited, clearly defined, and without regard to gender. Specifically, I said that a blanket rule such as “no sleeveless” is better than assuming that each school administrator will be able to use the proper discretion in enforcing vague or inconsistent guidelines.

  124. I’m with Rocky. Mayhap everyone should be in control of their own bodies. If the boys/men need a place to control themselves because a girl has ankles, knees, thighs, or boobs, they could excuse themselves to that room.

  125. “It seems like schools could keep all the rules that they have in place for clothing, and if they just changed their justifications from “they’re a distraction” to “they’re not appropriate,” everyone would be happy.”

    That would be a good start.

    Tell everyone that they are all responsible for and expected to be respectful to everyone else regardless of how they are dressed, and that there are no excuses for inappropriate behavior.

    Add in uniform enforcement, regardless of gender, and then I’d be happy.

  126. “consider girls volleyball, where the uniform includes spandex shorts, basically underwear, with nothing over them.”

    A lot of the sports uniforms do not meet dress code. Aquatic sports obviously, but also track, x-c, and basketball.

    My kids’ school has camps for 8th and 9th graders, at the beach. The kids get beach time, and the girls wear bikinis, and the guys wear board shorts. The more modest kids add rash guards on top of that.

    All the more reason, IMO, to change the lesson from “boys are horny and can’t control themselves” to “everyone is expected to treat each other with respect at all times, regardless of how they are dressed.”

  127. “I’m with Rocky and LfB on this. If the reason is not to distract boys, let’s just require burqas and be done with it.”

    I didn’t read Rocky’s and LfB’s comments as endorsing this.

    I disagree. While you might be able to enforce burqas during school hours, it reinforces the wrong message, one that’s consistent with the “she asked for it because she was wearing sexy clothes” defense of rape.

  128. Tell everyone that they are all responsible for and expected to be respectful to everyone else regardless of how they are dressed, and that there are no excuses for inappropriate behavior.

    I agree with Finn

  129. “I don’t trust the government/schools enough to agree with Milo.”

    Well, you’ve always been a bit more libertarian-conservative than me. I’m more of a law-and-order, crony capitalist, government-spending conservative.

    I know where my bread gets buttered.

  130. “While I am opposed to state sponsored tsk-tsking, I am all about parent sponsored totalitarianism.”

    I love this.

    Sort of like, I’m basically a free-market capitalist, but a socialist for my own family.

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