Thursday, January 23, 2020

Fairness in Dress Codes

It appears that dress codes must be uniform, and you can't simply ban halter tops with cutoffs split up to the belt loops. For me, at least, that's a relief. I never, ever say a thing to young women wearing revealing clothes. For one thing, I honestly don't much care what they wear. For another, if I were otherwise inclined, I'd be really preoccupied with crossing some line or other that would bring me over CR A-421, verbal abuse.

Verbal abuse is kind of in the ear of the beholder. If I say something about a young woman's clothing, she may feel uncomfortable or ridiculed, and then I'm sitting in the principal's office explaining why I said whatever I did. Better I keep my stupid mouth shut. As for school policy, if it were clear to me that I had no business speaking to this young woman about her choice of clothing, perhaps the world would be a marginally better place.

I have said things to students with blatant obscenities on their shirts. Since I teach ESL, it's always possible they don't even know what those things mean. I once had a boy put his jacket on and promise not to wear that shirt to my class again. He didn't seem all that worried about it, and I didn't get a letter in my file, so I guess it worked out.

Nonethless, schools will have to readjust their dress codes. You can't just ban the halter top, but you can say torsos must be covered. You can't ban the mini-skirt, but maybe you can say legs must be covered from the knee down. Or up. Or from mid-calf. Or something. Of course, you then get into short-shorts, which you can't ban, but might be covered by the mini-skirt language. Can students wear tank tops? What if they come from real tanks?

Here's where I've been unfair--I tell boys to take hats off, but I don't always do the same for girls. I look at how they've pulled a ponytail through that little hole above the plastic thing, and I figure it's trouble to take it off. I guess if hats are out, hats are out. Head covering is only good for religious reasons, or if hail is falling through the roof of the trailer.

I'm not sure whether earplugs are completely verboten. A few days ago, when it was freezing cold outside but boiling hot inside my trailer, we had the door propped open by the fire extinguisher so as to avoid the 89-degree temperature in at least part of the room. A disadvantage, as usual, was the hammering and drilling of the building they're erecting to replace the trailers. Added to that, though, was the marching band. Some of my Spanish speakers thought it was cool that they were playing La Bamba. They started dancing.

Of course, it's freezing outside so I don't have many issues with revealing clothing. Given the AC has not worked all year in the trailer, maybe I should give extra credit to scantily clad students. They're clearly the smartest people in the room, and that ought to be acknowledged.

I'm sorry that there are people worried about student hair styles. I find that idiotic. Maybe we should focus on their writing styles instead. Unlike the geniuses in Albany, I think that's really worth our time.
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