When the school sent home an itemized list of what the elementary school kids could and couldn't wear as the weather got warmer, my husband threw it in the recycling bin. We don't dress our kid like a floozy, he figured, so why even bother looking at it? Let's just say it's a good thing I saw the school logo and fished it back out of there.
Because as a little boy who is wearing a skirt to his school in England to protest a punitive dress code that forces boys to wear pants even when it's sweltering out, common sense isn't enough when it comes to dressing your kids for school. The boy, 12-year-old Chris Whitehead, has made international news for his protest of the unequal treatment of boys and girls.
While boys have to wear long pants, girls are allowed to wear skirts that allow a cool breeze on their legs. Whitehead's hoping the school will relent on the boys' side, giving them a chance to wear shorts. I could see it backfiring pretty easily -- losing the girls the right to wear skirts too to even things out.
But he highlights how silly these broad brush policies are. Take the policy at my kid's school. It warns that no tank tops shall be worn. I don't have a problem with that per se. Rules are rules, and we follow them. At 5, I had to laugh at the vision of my daughter in a tank top causing a stir. Picture a 16-year-old with bouncing boobs and my 5-year-old. Yeah, you laughed too, didn't you? The district-wide policy comes across as a bit silly when you think about a 5-year-old versus a teenager.
Especially when I look at ways I could get around it. My kid has several tank tops that I picked up at one of her favorite stores with chunky straps that essentially look like a t-shirt with the sleeves cut off. Sometimes called muscle tanks, they cover as much skin as her other shirts, save for the tippy top of her arms. Common sense told me that was fine. But if I hadn't fished the paper out of the bin, I probably would have been called in to bring a change of clothing for my kid. Mom fail!
The rules technically state only that the chest and midriff on kids need to be covered at all times. So I COULD cut the sleeves off her t-shirt and send her in with essentially the same item ... with a different name. It's not a tank top! It's a t-shirt! Hey, that's what's gotten little Chris Whitehead in the door with his skirt on.
I'll be honest. I feel BAD for school administrators. They have to have something on paper to back them up when a kid walks into school with a handkerchief covering her boobs and not much else. I wouldn't put it past some of these kids to wear pasties to class if they could. No, it isn't the school's fault. It's the loss of common sense on the parenting level.
If all parents could be trusted to make good choices, Chris Whitehead wouldn't have to wear a skirt to class. I wouldn't have to put perfectly nice tank tops in the "for play only" drawer.
Does your school dress code floor you? Do you see it as a necessary evil or just plain evil?
Image via Mr. Moss/Flickr