Posted by: cornvillenutmeg | July 25, 2012

Dress Codes

Yesterday (7/24/12)  in the Arizona Republic we found this:  “Blue hair, ‘extreme’ hairstyles, facial piercings, distracting tattoos and ‘excessive’ earrings are all prohibited under a new dress code in the Litchfield Elementary School District.”  Missing, as far as I could tell was a prohibition on wearing T-shirts that promoted alcohol, drugs, or inappropriate conduct.  Then I realized that this new dress code is really an amended dress code, and likely such T-shirts were already banned.

When it comes to dress codes, my guess is that most people are agnostic, for most people’s dress is largely dictated by what they do for most of the hours of a day.  A butcher wears a full length smock because he’d rather not stain his own clothing with the blood of cows, pigs, and lambs.  Investment bankers wears dark suits because of the feeling of sobriety and thoughtfulness they convey.  While it is likely that were an investment banker to show up for a day’s money-making in work shoes, jeans, and a pocketed T-shirt, his immediate supervisor would suggest he not bother to turn on his computer till he had found appropriate habiliment, there is unlikely to be a dress code in the Investment Banker Handbook to which the supervisor would refer his underling.

English: Example of a common dress code for ma...

English: Example of a common dress code for males in modern Western culture. Note that these designations are far from universal, but offer examples of standard and commonly-understood levels of acceptable dress. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Agnosticism in matters of dress is replaced, however, when it comes to parents of children in schools, public and independent.   That constituency is of two minds:  pro-dress code and anti-dress code.  Those who support dress codes including school uniforms cite any number of rational reasons for their position:  decency, discipline, order, harmony, egalitarianism, and money among them.  The anti-dress code side adduce comfort, freedom of expression, and superficiality, and not much else.

In schools that once had strict dress codes – jackets and ties, belts, socks, skirts, blouses, and so on – and now have relaxed their expectations for student appearance, anecdotal evidence suggests a concomitant relaxation of behavior.  In schools that have moved in the opposite direction, an improvement in behavior is reported.  So we might expect the amendments to the dress code reported by the Arizona Republic in the Litchfield schools will have an ameliorating affect on the behavior there.  Let us fervently hope and pray for just that change, for the dress code referred to is for the teachers of that system, not the students.

I’d just love to know what you think about that.




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