Education Editorial: School dress codes

By: Bill Bosher - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Spring is officially with us even though it felt like spring most of the winter. It is a time of renewal and energy…but also pollen, allergies and trying to figure out how little you can wear to school.

Local principals have recently sent to parents and students their expectations for dress.

One wrote: "Safe, comfortable and appropriate clothing is to be worn by all students." It defined appropriate as:

"Shorts and skirts may not be shorter than 5 inches above the top of the knee. Tank tops, camisoles, etc. are not to be worn unless paired with an appropriate blouse, jacket, or sweater. Midriffs should be covered at all times. No tops with low-cut necklines can be worn. No undergarments should be visible. Pants must be worn at the waist. Hats are not allowed to be worn in the building. Clothing promoting drugs, alcohol, or inappropriate messages may not be worn."

The school has clearly offered a reasonable reminder to students and parents…but why should we need a reminder?

While once speaking at a conference, I was asked, "Did you really have a dress code as a principal?"

I responded, "yes".

The questioner said that they stopped offering a dress code because the students said that it was illegal.

I asked, "Did you ask anyone else?"

"No", came the reply from the audience, "we thought that they knew what they were talking about."

Dress is directly related to behavior… and, no, it is not simply cute. Parents watch what your young people are wearing…what is really scary is that it may tell you how they want to be identified.

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