Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Dress Code Preparedness

Many years ago I joined a group called Emergency Preparedness that prepared groups of people for possible disasters. A few years ago I joined another group that basically did the same thing but the important thing about both was to get prepared. I think schools and parents need to do the same thing when dealing with dress codes, dress code violations, and the consequences that follow.

In Back to School Clothes: One of the Many Reasons I Have “Edusomnia”. from PrincipalsPage The Blog by Michael Smith, he talks about comments from both students and parents about the clothes that were already purchased. Then he gives some great advice:

“… I do know that reading the handbook is free. Which might be a good idea before going shopping. Just a suggestion Mom and Dad… keep your receipts, just in case.”

Kids are going to tell parents that certain types of dress are acceptable in school even if they aren’t. Let’s face it, I did it as a kid and you probably did too. Only, when I was growing up, my parents really didn’t care whether I was popular in school or what was acceptable in school because my parents were much stricter than any school I attended. I just knew as a teenager that I would probably win the “Geek” award for clothes (among other things). It seems that today, parents care more about the popularity of their child than their own values. I really feel that they trust their kids too much and that is where the problems begin.

Parents need to take the upper hand concerning their children’s dress. As a parent, you are in control of the money and therefore should have the final say in their clothes. It is no secret and never has been that there is a dress code in most schools. It is your job to find out what this code is so you don’t waste your money. In today’s economic situation, this should be motivation for you if nothing else is. I don’t care if your child is in kindergarten or high school, you need to know what is acceptable in school. Of course if you aren’t going to get the scoop before school starts, like this principal says, save your receipts!

Teachers should also send home a copy of the dress code with the child on the first day. I also made my students return the copy signed by both the student and the parent. I called the parent if this was not returned. This is really effective when there are problems later on! There also needs to be consistency in enforcing the dress code. It doesn’t do the students any good if one teacher enforces it but another one doesn’t. This has always been a major issue at the schools I have taught in.

Dress codes shouldn’t be this hard. There are dress codes for employment and even dress codes if you go out to eat. Many restaurants expect men to wear collared shirts, many won’t allow shorts or tennis shoes. Teaching dress codes in school is just another learning experience that they can use later in life. Learning to dress appropriately will help the students be more successful in life.

Original image: 'James, I think your cover's blown!' http://www.flickr.com/photos/23912576@N05/2962194797 by: Ludovic Bertron


Lona said...

Excellent blogpost, Pat! I'll re-read and refer to your logical ideas all year long!

BookChook said...

It's so much easier here in Australia, where most kids wear a school uniform. But kids still like to stamp their individuality on it eg wearing a skirt so high it shows their knickers, or putting a hat on only if a teacher is nearby.

I think your point is a good one, Pat - we were the same when we were kids: testing limits, pushing boundaries, establishing our independence.

loonyhiker said...

@Lona Thanks! I'm so glad you find this useful.

loonyhiker said...

@The Book Chook I love to learn about things here compare to other countries. It really helps me stop focusing so much on being "American-centric". It is also nice to hear that our kids are not much different whether they live in Australia or the USA. :)