Teachers wear many different hats in their careers. Educator. Parent. Counselor. Nurse. Psychologist. The list is seemingly endless. And now, I wear a new hat brought to you by the benevolent district-enforced school uniform policy in my county: Fashion police (and at no extra charge!). But as much as I might gripe, moan, and wail about my added responsibility, it comes as no surprise. One of the dress code’s purposes is student safety. However, sometimes even a dress code cannot cover every potential threat that a plucky young student wears on their body. So what should district rule creators, educators, and parents be on the look-out for before their son or daughter gets injured?
Who could forget the era when heavy metal was en vogue? Well, it never really dissipated into total obscurity. Metal heads still exist and with them, the wearing of chains. While the endlessly long locks of hair have faded away, the chains attached to pants, wallets, and other areas can still be seen down school hallways. These create a potential threat because, let’s face it, they can be used as a weapon. And let us not assume cherub-faced students will never fight.
2. Baggy Pants
It seems as if most people I talk to want this style to go away anyway. While baring witness to another person’s boxers can induce nausea to the highest degree, this alone is not the reason why baggy pants has made the list of infamy. Heaven forbid a student trips, falls, and breaks a leg while running down the hallway to a class before the late bell signifies a tardy. While there may exist comic value watching someone running while holding up their trousers, broken bones stifle the laughter. Baggy pants increases the possibility of such an event occurring substantially.
3. Hoop Earrings
I have seen hoop earrings that my mother’s pet cockatiel would have a field day playing. A ferret could fit in one. Perhaps a small horse. Ok, that might be taking it a bit too far. But large hoop earrings are just waiting to be pulled out. Whether it be accidental or snatched maliciously in a fight, I cannot imagine a parent wanting to receive a phone call regarding their daughter’s earlobe being torn apart. Leave the hoops for a ladies’ night out or a Ringling Bros. lion tamer.
4. Gang Colors / Team Caps
Gangs are no longer localized entirely in big metropolitan cities. They are lurking in suburbs and rural areas. Authentic and wannabe thugs are always on the lookout for new recruits and to antagonize enemy members. While it is sheer lunacy to disallow students to wear the color red (Yikes! They might be in the Bloods gang!), combining an all red outfit with a Cincinnati Red’s baseball cap might not be in a child’s best interest if all they are attempting to do is make a fashion statement. A Crips “gangsta” could take particular offense to this.
Much like the baggy pants, flip-flops are an accident waiting to happen. While flip-flops in general seem innocent enough, they offer no foot protection and are awkward to walk swiftly or run. At the school I call home away from home, a girl stumbled over her flip-flops many moons ago during a fire drill. She was trampled and her parents pressed charges against the district. Ever since, flip-flops have been properly banned in our middle school. Footwear must have a back to them for support.
Another day, another hat for educators to wear on their weary heads. But for the safety of their students everywhere, giving a cursory look over a child’s attire is surely worth the effort. Parents can play their role at the front door as junior gets set for another day in academia.
More from this Contributor:
The Negative Consequences of Candy Rewards in Middle School
Implementing a “Touchdown Plan” for Perfect Attendance
Resolving Dress Code Violations in School Quickly and Easily