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Author Topic: Dress code policies? Free speech issues?  (Read 8915 times)
LyricFox
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« Topic Start: October 18, 2008, 03:35:00 pm »

So what do you think? The dress code bit goes too far? Not far enough?

Students, parents bare claws over dress codes
As policies spread, free-speech disputes ending up in courts nationwide

It took only an hour for parents in Omaha, Neb., to get in touch with the American Civil Liberties Union. Their children — 23 of them — had been suspended from school for wearing the wrong clothes.

The teenagers, all students at Millard South High School, were ordered to stay home from one to three days in late August for wearing T-shirts that memorialized Julius Robinson, 18, a Millard South football player who was shot to death in June. The shirts were being sold to help raise money so Robinson’s family could buy a headstone for his grave.

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« Reply #1: October 18, 2008, 04:07:20 pm »



I am torn, because students do have free speech rights that extend to their clothing and hairstyles.

On the other hand, uniforms do have proven educational benefits, particularly in schools with large low-income populations.

And GOOD LORD, the clothes some of these kids wear to school (!!!!). But as long as they're not actively indecent, that's a matter of poor parenting, I guess, not something so serious it should be prohibited expression.

And of course you always have issues with uniforms; my sister's junior high adopted a dress code that said that shorts had to be between knee length and 3" above the knee. Which for most 12-year-olds isn't unreasonable, but my sister was 5'8" when she was 12 and still wearing kiddie sizes since she had no hips. It was literally impossible for her to find shorts that went as low as 3" above her knee, and pretty unreasonable to demand she wear pants in the hot months when the A/C wasn't on just because she was tall. Or you get a kid with a skin condition or an illness who wants to cover something up. Or whatever.

For my part, what I find distracting while in front of my classroom is hats pulled low so I can't see eyes (I don't mind them backwards, sideways, or high on the forehead), extreme levels of cleavage, and extreme slovenliness (which is hard to quantify). Also certain piercings are extremely distracting, though crazy hair and wild makeup doesn't distract me. And I've yet to see a T-shirt I found actually distracting, though I've seen a few I found terribly tasteless.
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« Reply #2: October 18, 2008, 06:35:17 pm »


While many schools get too militeristic when addressing certain issues..they do have every right to enforce dress codes, colleges and places of employment demand their own rules as well..that is called "real life". Just because the are students doesn't entitle them to special rights.

If the rules say "No jackets in the classroom" then the kid will not wear jackets in the classroom..if they are cold then wear a sweater. If the rules stipulate that no clothing have certain emblems or symbols then so be it. Free speech is not free of rules and regulations.

Yes, the school involved could have handled it better but in the ned, rules are rules..if the students want change then they need to act like adults and talk and discuss..not yell,scream, purposely defy rules, be obnoxious and beligerent. Rights come with responsibility.

This could have been handled better...
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« Reply #3: October 18, 2008, 07:20:08 pm »

So what do you think? The dress code bit goes too far? Not far enough?

I think in some cases dress codes go way too far.  And requiring school uniforms in public schools is a bit out of line, since most of them require the parents to buy or rent the uniforms.  If I had the money for that kind of thing I would be sending my kids to a private school, not a public one. 

I agree with the student that said (about uniforms quelling the gang problems), that it only covers the symptoms, not solve the problem itself.  As for the sexually revealing, and certain logos and the like (anything I won't let my kids say/watch/drink/etc., I won't let them wear...), I think it is perfectly appropriate to not allow them.

When it comes to religious, political, etc. clothing, jewelry, and the like, I do not believe they should be banned.  Banning of colors the same. 

I do believe that many of the school dress codes go out of their way to make all the kids the same.  These children are people, individuals, not robots to be programmed.
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« Reply #4: October 18, 2008, 08:12:41 pm »

I think in some cases dress codes go way too far.  And requiring school uniforms in public schools is a bit out of line, since most of them require the parents to buy or rent the uniforms.  If I had the money for that kind of thing I would be sending my kids to a private school, not a public one. 

I agree with the student that said (about uniforms quelling the gang problems), that it only covers the symptoms, not solve the problem itself.  As for the sexually revealing, and certain logos and the like (anything I won't let my kids say/watch/drink/etc., I won't let them wear...), I think it is perfectly appropriate to not allow them.

When it comes to religious, political, etc. clothing, jewelry, and the like, I do not believe they should be banned.  Banning of colors the same. 

I do believe that many of the school dress codes go out of their way to make all the kids the same.  These children are people, individuals, not robots to be programmed.

Repeated arguements I've heard is that school uniforms save money for parents.  No more need to buy $100 dollar sneakers or designer labeled jackets, etc.

Agreed on the gangs.  Kids will find other ways to do it.  My soon-to-be ex-wife said that in the parocial school, the girls pulled one-upmanship thru socks.  Socks weren't requlated as part of the school uniform, so rich girls had expensive & fancy socks. Gangs will find something similar.

I'm not sure how the t-shirts in the article were being tied to gang issues though.  I guess the school could have an outright ban on t-shirts.  The kids would have a bigger hurdle to jump if the rule is shirts must have collars.  The school could argue that it's not the content that is being banned, but the type of shirt.  Barring more info, I'm for the students. 
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« Reply #5: October 18, 2008, 08:20:31 pm »

So what do you think? The dress code bit goes too far? Not far enough?

In the matter of the "Julius RIP" shirts, I think I don't have enough information.  It looks fairly ridiculous on the surface (how are memorial shirts possibly gang-related again?), but I don't know anything about the situation or the school's dress code.  For all I know they have some rule against shirts with any kind of text, and the students should have known that they were breaking that rule, or something.

In the case of the girl with the jacket, I'm a little unclear on why she was being arrested for breaking the school dress code.  Huh  Is this my small-town background showing again?  When did school dress codes become an issue for the police?  That seems really weird to me--although, again, not much information is given.

As for this:
Quote
And in Gonzales, Texas, near San Antonio, parents are considering legal action over a new policy that requires students who come to school dressed inappropriately to either go home or put on a school-provided prison-style jumpsuit — one actually made by Texas inmates.

It seems to me that the prison jumpsuit would be at least as disruptive as most inappropriate clothing, and I'm not sure that humiliating students is really the best way to go about getting them to comply with the rules.  I guess it might be effective, but I don't think it's a good idea for the school administration to start bullying students even if they are misbehaving.

(The "Dress Code Violater" shirt mentioned at another school, now--I knew people in high school who would have violated the dress code on purpose just to wear it.  Or even made their own.)

I have little comment on the issue of uniforms in general.  I can see points on both sides.  I'm not up on the research that's been done about their effectiveness, though, and I have never been in a school where they were required.  I have neither theoretical nor practical experience with them.  They're largely an abstract concept for me.  I similarly have little opinion on most school dress codes.  I think most of the time they're probably fairly sensible--you know, basically keep your private parts private and that kind of thing.  Sometimes they do get a little out of hand, which of course is when we start hearing about them on the news...

Reasonable or not, though, I think that students who violate them shouldn't be surprised when they reap the consequences.  See the hoodie protest mentioned in the article--yes, they can and will suspend all 100 of you.  I don't think that's an effective way to go about trying to change the rule; I don't think it's going to do anything.  I also don't think that getting into disputes with the administration so heated that the police have to be called in is going to be effective.  If anything, that only makes the people doing the protesting look worse, and I suspect it will only make the administration dig their heels in harder.  People tend to do that when you scream at them.
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« Reply #6: October 18, 2008, 08:27:51 pm »

And of course you always have issues with uniforms; my sister's junior high adopted a dress code that said that shorts had to be between knee length and 3" above the knee. Which for most 12-year-olds isn't unreasonable, but my sister was 5'8" when she was 12 and still wearing kiddie sizes since she had no hips. It was literally impossible for her to find shorts that went as low as 3" above her knee, and pretty unreasonable to demand she wear pants in the hot months when the A/C wasn't on just because she was tall.

I had a similar problem in junior high and high school.  The requirement was that shorts had to reach the tip of our longest finger when standing with hands down at our sides.  Which is slightly less restrictive, I think, than the 3-inch rule, buuuuuuuut...

I wear a 36" inseam now.  I may have still been growing in high school, and thus not quite reached that yet, but my legs were still pretty long.  Shorts that were normal-length on other kids looked sort of short on me (and no, did not reach my fingertips).  And Bermuda shorts weren't in fashion then; practically all that was available was stuff that was a bit on the short side for me.  It didn't help that I had long-ish arms, too, which pushed the length requirement a little longer yet.

Fortunately, the school wasn't real strict with the dress code enforcement.  I wasn't wearing shorts that were practically underwear, I wasn't distracting my classmates or teachers with the amount of leg I was showing, I was making my best effort, and they seem to have been happy with that.  At least, the problem was never mentioned to me, even though I'm sure no pair of shorts I wore at those schools ever met the requirements.
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« Reply #7: October 18, 2008, 10:28:09 pm »

Repeated arguements I've heard is that school uniforms save money for parents.  No more need to buy $100 dollar sneakers or designer labeled jackets, etc.

It does if the family is small. Large families tend to have a lot of hand me down clothes and can't afford to buy all their children new clothes every year.  When a number of public school districts in Texas wanted to switch to uniforms, there was such a howl over this that the state legislature passed a law saying that school districts who wanted uniforms (or who wanted to change uniforms -- some were changing every 2 or 3 years) would have to pay for them for families with low incomes for the number of children they have.  Amazingly, many school districts lost interest in it when they found it would cost them money.
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« Reply #8: October 18, 2008, 11:17:22 pm »

(The "Dress Code Violater" shirt mentioned at another school, now--I knew people in high school who would have violated the dress code on purpose just to wear it.  Or even made their own.)

Ahem. Yep. I'd have done that. And probably talked most of my friends into doing it, too.

That one is just asking for it.
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« Reply #9: October 18, 2008, 11:20:13 pm »

It does if the family is small. Large families tend to have a lot of hand me down clothes and can't afford to buy all their children new clothes every year.  When a number of public school districts in Texas wanted to switch to uniforms, there was such a howl over this that the state legislature passed a law saying that school districts who wanted uniforms (or who wanted to change uniforms -- some were changing every 2 or 3 years) would have to pay for them for families with low incomes for the number of children they have.  Amazingly, many school districts lost interest in it when they found it would cost them money.

Rumble, rumble.

I can see the point about changing uniforms.

And the first few years of a program are going to cost families money.  After that though I'd expect to see a significant number of used uniforms availiable.

It does sort of, kinda hoist them by a petard of their industries making.  

Either uniforms help and the school district doesn't care about the kids, just the money.

Or the uniforms don't help, and the uniform policy was a control issue.

Choice would have to apply school by school from what I've heard about the effects of uniforms.  As Koi mentioned upthread, uniforms seem to help in low income areas.  I'd qualify that even more, to low income areas with unstable families.

The irony of course that the areas that uniforms would likely help in are the ones where parents might have trouble with the costs (again balance it against what some parents in those areas spend on designer stuff).  
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« Reply #10: October 18, 2008, 11:22:42 pm »

Ahem. Yep. I'd have done that. And probably talked most of my friends into doing it, too.

That one is just asking for it.

Had a friend who was thinking along those lines, but it was trying to get arrested while not getting a moving violation.  His solution was to ride his motorcycle wearing the mandatory helmet and boots.  Public nudity isn't a moving violation.
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« Reply #11: October 18, 2008, 11:27:03 pm »

Had a friend who was thinking along those lines, but it was trying to get arrested while not getting a moving violation.  His solution was to ride his motorcycle wearing the mandatory helmet and boots.  Public nudity isn't a moving violation.


ROFLMAO...oh that's great!

It's amazing what you can get around when you try. I got snagged for taking an empty styrofoam cup into a line area at Pagenet. They'd prohibited them in the area, but I'd just come out of a meeting, gone in to grab my purse to go to lunch and left it on the desk. So the security guard gets all righteous and reports it to my boss. Jonathan was very apologetic when he talked to me, and my co-worker was there with his eyebrows up in points. I came back from another meeting and Craig had brought in 20 or so empty styrofoam cups and set them around where the guard could see them when he came through.

Not another word was said.
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« Reply #12: October 19, 2008, 08:22:39 am »

And the first few years of a program are going to cost families money.  After that though I'd expect to see a significant number of used uniforms availiable.

The problem is the first few years after a school district requires/changes uniforms.  In many states it probably would not be quite this issue it is in Texas. Texas has one of the lowest income levels for our many poor and one of the least amounts of state aid for the poor, and very large families are common (due to a combination of religion and inability to get contraception due to the cost and lack of any real medical care for the poor in many areas of the state). But for a two-parent household with 6 or 8 children where the parents are earning minimum wage or just above, buying a new set of clothes for every child would not be possible in one year.
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« Reply #13: October 28, 2008, 02:55:33 pm »

So what do you think? The dress code bit goes too far? Not far enough?

I'm quite torn on the subject, actually. 

For a couple of years, I wore a uniform to school.  I enjoyed it because you weren't judged nearly as much.  Why?  Because everyone wore the same thing.  You couldn't tell who was rich and who was low income.  You had no idea unless you went to their house or had conversations with them.  True, there may be other things for kids to tease you about, but, for once, it's not because you aren't wearing designer clothes.

On the other hand, it does get in the way of freedom of expression.  I believe one should be able to express themselves without fear of being judged.  The unfortunate thing here is that there will always be judging.  Kids should be able to exercise their right to freedom of expression.  It's those who make themselves feel better by picking on others who abuse this right.
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« Reply #14: October 30, 2008, 07:28:02 pm »


For my part, what I find distracting while in front of my classroom is hats pulled low so I can't see eyes (I don't mind them backwards, sideways, or high on the forehead), extreme levels of cleavage, and extreme slovenliness (which is hard to quantify). Also certain piercings are extremely distracting, though crazy hair and wild makeup doesn't distract me. And I've yet to see a T-shirt I found actually distracting, though I've seen a few I found terribly tasteless.

One of the things that distracted me the most were students that showed up in their pajamas.  Not even sweats, but real pajamas...it was clear that they had literally rolled out of bed, shoved a hat on and came to class.  Ewww!

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