Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Changing the Conversation

"Mom! You'll never guess what happened in school today!"

As the parent of a teen, I don't hear this very often. So I was immediately intrigued.

"They called out a boy for wearing a tank top!"


"It wasn't even in violation of the dress code, mom, but they called him out in the hallway anyway. And he had to wear his sweatshirt the rest of the day, and it was hot!"

By the end of the day I had heard corroboration of this story several times, plus a similar one from OMHS -- poor guy, who knew side boob was a thing for men? But my personal favorite was the boy from the middle school who was accosted by the Dress Code Police for wearing a shirt with a weapon on it.

It was a light saber. May the Fourth be with you, too, hcpss.

My daughter is in the eighth grade and yesterday was the first time she had ever seen a boy called out for a dress code violation. And it actually wasn't even a violation. I wonder what this all could possibly mean.

I do know that the tide is turning against body-shaming enforcement of the school dress code. A group of concerned parents (and yes, I am one of them) is holding a community conversation on June 1st about how school dress codes impact our students in their learning and development. You can learn more here. This event is open to students and their parents who want to share their stories about experiences with school dress codes.

A group of young women calling themselves the "Rabid Minds Collective" performed a poem in the OMHS talent show entitled, "27 Reasons women are never living just surviving." It begins,

Because when I show my shoulders it's "distracting to boys" and "asking for attention"

Parents from Folly Quarter received a letter about appropriate dress for the eighth grade dance. It was four paragraphs long and special attention was paid to girls and their shoulders.

And somehow, smack dab in the middle of this, came a story of three young men in one day who were called out for dress code issues. Coincidence? Perhaps.

One suggestion. In stead of ramping up the nastiness toward boys, maybe they could just be more respectful to the girls.





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