dress codeWarmer weather brings flowers, sunny days, and less clothing. And less clothing often causes schools to deal with dress code violations. Typically, it’s girls who get the violations because the rules are against length of shorts and skirts. Other than boys wearing saggy shorts and jeans revealing their underwear, the violations sway towards girls. Sexist? Some parents think so. Recently a school in Illinois banned leggings for being “too distracting to boys” to be fit for the classroom.”

This week, I followed several Facebook discussions of Montclair Glenfield Middle School parents complaining that their daughters were made to change for what teachers/administrators felt were too short shorts, while the parents thought they were “modest” and appropriate. Some parents said that their daughters were told they couldn’t wear leggings or knee socks as well.

We reached out to Dr. Joseph Putrino, principal of Glenfield School for clarification:

“I can confirm that there is no ban on leggings or knee high socks. We are following the dress code in the student agenda.”

Dr. Putrino added that if a parent had a specific concern with a teacher’s interpretation, they should let him know as he would address it discretely.

Below is Glenfield Middle School’s dress code, which is posted online:

Dress Code: Because no dress code can be all-inclusive, the administration reserves the right to make the final decision on all attire. Students must wear clothing that is safe and supports a positive learning environment. Clothing should not be worn which interferes with or disrupts the operation of the school.
For example:
a) Clothing should fully cover chests, shoulders, and torsos. Skirts, shorts and pants should sit at the waist and be at least as long as the fingertips when a student’s arms are fully extended at their sides. Attire should be sufficient to conceal undergarments.

b) Head coverings should be removed inside the building. Religious and medical exceptions must be recorded in the Main Office.

c) Clothing and/or accessories must not display/advertise that which could be considered by some to be lewd, offensive or insensitive.

d) Ear buds and other types of headphones should be put away during the school day.

e) Foot attire must be safe for active participation in all school activities; flip-flops, high heels and platform shoes are discouraged for safety reasons. Shoes with wheels are prohibited.

f) Sunglasses may not be worn anywhere in school.

g) In instances where inappropriate attire is worn, parents may be contacted and asked to bring appropriate clothing to school or to escort their child home to change clothes. When other alternatives are not feasible, students may be held in the office until parent contact can be made. Time away from classes for this reason is considered unexcused.

Some feel that dress codes send the wrong message that girls should be judged and sexualized for their clothing. Others feel that dress codes are meant to teach girls and boys to respect their bodies and learn that setting-appropriate attire is a part of life. Some feel that we could solve the problem with uniforms.

How do you feel about dress codes?

(Photo: Flickr)


9 replies on “Warmer Weather = School Dress Code Violations”

  1. Shoulders must be covered? SHOULDERS? Why??? Are shoulders too sexy? That’s just silly. When the schools heat up to over 90 degrees in mid-June, I think students AND teachers should be able to wear tank tops.

  2. This dress code seems fine to me. Out of all the things we really need to be thinking about with the schools in town, dress code should be pretty low on the list. I hope that whomever was upset can work it out with Dr. Putrino one on one. And I think that a cap sleeve top could still be as good as a tank top when it comes down to it, really.

  3. The key is not pretending that girls are responsible for boys behavior. It serves both poorly, especially in the long run, to teach girls they must modify how they look/act to fit the needs of men.

  4. I’m fine with a dress code as long as it’s not a uniform, is not selectively enforced, and there’s no underlying message to girls about how they have to dress to assure the boys behave properly.

  5. I’m shocked in such a “bully obsessed” culture that you’re all worried about what the little Hoochie might engender from boys, when we all know GIRLS are the biggest “slut-shamers” out there. The fear should be that other GIRLS will shun your little Miley wannabe, not boys. And once shunned (read: bullied), your little wrecking ball will be forever scarred.

    But please– don’t let stereotypes get in the way of 1959 discussion about boys.

    In truth, schools have GREAT leeway in determining whether clothing might “cause a substantial disruption or material interference” in the schools.

    But State Street Pete makes the point, as long as it “not selectively enforced,” I don’t have a problem with it.

    Schools using boys behavior as an excuse is reductive, silly and continues to tell me that far too many Administrators and Principals are not very smart and are barriers to education!

    I “can confirm” this.

  6. Out of all the things we really need to be thinking about with the schools in town, dress code should be pretty low on the list.

    Almost as low as a pair of saggy jeans.

    The key is not pretending that girls are responsible for boys behavior.

    That’s ridiculous, girls aren’t responsible for boys’ behavior! As long as the girls cover themselves from head to toe, they shouldn’t feel responsible at all.

  7. I chuckle when I read things like this and think back to when I was in junior high school. A note was sent home from school to my mother because I had the AUDACITY to wear culottes, a garment that resembled a skirt in front but shorts in back. This was in the early 1970s. My mother just rolled her eyes and threw it away. It’s amazing, though, how much things have changed in a relatively short time. I think a lot depends on where you go to school, too. Obviously, prep and religious schools have their own dress codes/uniforms and students are made aware of them from day one. In other cases, it’s more a grey area. My junior high was very strict and didn’t allow too short skirts, shorts, denim jeans, tank tops, open-toes sandals. At my high school there was only one rule: Wear some type of footwear! I don’t think the dress code above is too bad. I think underwear should be concealed…that’s why it’s called UNDERwear!

  8. This dress code is totally reasonable. In fact, I’d add a few specifics based on what I saw over 12 years teaching in high school.

    I would ask, however, are the students and teachers allowed to wear their sunglasses on their heads? I would be at a loss if I couldn’t use mine to push my hair back.

  9. Students should be required to wear underwear under their wear. Unless they rename it overwear, in which case they should be required to wear it on top of their other wear, though preferably not on top of their underwear, which would be redundant. Rather: underwear, middlewear, overwear on top. How do I upload a diagram?

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