Sunday, May 24, 2015

Inappropriate dress?

On Yahoo Parenting, writer Rachel Bertsche asked, Should This High Schooler Have Been Suspended for Her 'Inappropriate' Dress?

Both the student and the author Bertsche elevate how the student feels above the school's rules. "Reay admits that her dress may have been an inch or two short of that, but says she was focused on wearing a dress that made her feel like she could conquer the world."

The proper question is not whether the student violated the rules, but whether the rule is appropriate or should be changed. The student clearly DID violate the dress code. The school's dress code (p. 16 ) states that "Skirts, dresses, or other similar attire must extend at least to the top of the knee cap, from the front and from the back." Bertsche points out that the student's dress “passes many schools’ 'fingertip rule'” and “is hardly inappropriate.” Whether Bertsche thinks the dress is appropriate or whether it doesn't violate some other school's rules is immaterial. The picture on the Yahoo Parenting page makes it clear that it did violate the rules of the school where the student attended. Dress code's are always questionable -- especially in how consistently they are applied -- but once a school adopts a dress code that is satisfactory to the community, students should comply with it. If the community is not satisfied with it, they should seek to get it changed. What they should not do is seek to encourage students to violate it.

There are certainly some technical issues in this incident that are questionable -- for example, whether the teacher or school allowed her mother the opportunity to bring appropriate clothing. But in the end it seems the student was suspended for her insubordination rather than her clothing. It's not clear, but she may have also violated the cell phone policy. 

Nevertheless, I think that this and other similar recent incidents signal the rampant modern belief that people should be able to do what they feel like, rules be damned. The writer ends her piece by quoting the student, "...all women need to realize that they should wear what they feel good in." But the simple fact is that we cannot go the route that always allows all, whether men or women, to "wear what they feel good in."

No comments: