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Today's dose of what-the-hell from our nation's schools comes to us from Dallas. There the school district has been debating its student dress code. Among their rulings last week were mandates that leggings should not be worn as pants; skirts should be no higher than a girl's fingertips; and boys shouldn't be allowed to wear earrings.
I suppose we could argue the merit of each of those, but it's one policy that the school district overturned that is the most outrageous -- the one that requires students to tuck in their shirts. Staff told the school board they don't think students should be required to do so because it could damage fat kids. I'm not kidding.
Okay, so board members didn't actually use the "F" word, rather they called the students things like "healthy", or those with "a body type that was different", and even "fluffy." Semantics aside, however, many felt that tucking in shirts could be harmful to kids who were packing on too many pounds as that would be an unflattering look for them. The Dallas Observer quoted board president Lew Blackburn as saying:
Now, I am always one to say tuck in your shirts, but it was brought to my attention that if you are, uh healthy, tucking in your shirt shows your healthiness and that's not what they wanted to do.
For a middle-school student, it could be a self-esteem issue if they are made to tuck in their shirt, because if they wear it loose, their healthiness might not show as much.
Their healthiness? Since when is there anything healthy about being chubby? Their refusal to even call fat "fat" or "overweight" is exactly what's wrong with changing a policy like this. We can't pretend kids aren't fat, and we can't act like addressing the issue when they are is wrong. While I don't believe in fat shaming by any means, I also don't think it's healthy to make it easier to be obese. Should we ban all the mirrors in case they don't like seeing their fluffiness?
I don't have any strong feelings that kids in a public school should be made to tuck in their shirts, especially as many styles today don't really work that way. I do, however, have extremely strong feelings about their justification for doing away with such a policy. It's ridiculous.
If kids are overweight we need to find ways to help them get healthy. We don't need to pussyfoot around the issue or try to help them hide beneath an untucked shirt.
Do you think this is outrageous?
Image via FBellon/Flickr