Thursday, May 27, 2010

Dress Code Enforcement; Or, Yes, Please Give Me One More Thing to Do

As the weather grows warm and no climate control-type relief is in sight, my kiddies have taken to wearing fewer and fewer clothes to school. Which means that dress code policing has become one of my jobs.

Now, I'm all for children dressing sensibly for school. I wore a uniform growing up and neither my sharp sartorial sense nor, God forbid, my self-esteem was damaged. I would happily teach in a uniform school or send my own children to one. But alas, my current school simply has a somewhat vague dress policy.

For example, no one seems to know the rule on shorts. The loose longish cargo shorts that the boys wear and the cute Bermudas that are popular with the girls seem to fine to me, so I've never given a kid a hard time about them. But my AP recently claims that they can only be worn for gym. I've no idea if this rule is official or, if it is, why.

As well, if a child is dressed improperly, I am supposed to send that child directly to the office to either change clothes or wait for a parent or guardian to bring a change of clothes. Now, again, I am theoretically in favor of a policy like this. However, in the recent past at my school, a child has told a teacher to go f--- herself only to be promptly returned to the classroom, and another child called a classmate a name that I cannot even attempt to partially censor on a family blog and faced no consequences at all. So perhaps you can see my hesitation to remove a child who is otherwise productive and pleasantly behaved from my classroom.

I probably have two options: continue to mostly ignore all but the most egregious dress code violations, or simply send every single violation to the office. It will certainly free up some oxygen in my classroom to do the latter. But something tells me that my administration would actually secretly prefer me to do the former so as not to clutter their office.

I have not removed a child from my classroom at all this year, not even once. I have managed all disruptions by myself. I sort of don't want to ruin my perfect record. But I'd rather not be disparaged for not doing Part #647 of my job, which is, apparently, Dress Code Enforcement.

What do you think?

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