We are quickly approaching that time of the year when parents start thinking about and planning back-to-school clothes shopping. As an educator, I can attest that nearly every school has the same rules and regulations regarding appropriate dress attire, and every year, these rules are broken. When students violate the set dress codes, they are called to the office, where the guardians are usually called, and the problem must be corrected before the student can return to class. This becomes a real hassle for both teachers and office staff, so before you head out to the stores for back-to-school shopping this school year, remember these standard dress codes and common dress issues in public schools:
Clothing that is Prohibited in Schools
* strapless shirts and “spaghetti strap” shirts
* tank tops
* skirts or shorts that are shorter than the tips of the fingers when the arms are stretched along the sides
* flip flops (unless the student brings a separate pair of tennis shoes for gym class)
* clothing that contains profanities or references to drugs and alcohol
* clothing that contains any racial, sexist, or discriminatory slurs
* clothing that depicts violence
* pants that fall below the hips and expose the student’s underwear
* shoes with wheels
A good rule of thumb to follow when you’re shopping for school clothes and you’re unsure as to whether or not it’s school appropriate, “when in doubt, throw it out.” If the clothing is questionable, be safe and select something else.
Think “Weather Appropriate” While Back-To-School Shopping
Another common clothing issue that educators face is students not wearing weather appropriate attire. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for several students to come to school in the winter wearing summer clothes and no coat. Conversely, when the weather is sweltering outside, students will show up to school wearing “hoodies” and heavy clothing. In these cases, the inappropriate clothing usually becomes disruptive to the student and the guardian is called to correct the issue.
When you go school shopping toward the end of summer, remember that in most states, it doesn’t start getting cold until a few months into the school year, so students are going to need clothing that is cool and appropriate to start school with. Keep the air conditioning in mind when selecting back-to-school clothes and buy layers that can be added or shed easily. Also, prepare for the cold weather by purchasing both a lightweight jacket and coat. If you are short on money, you can always go to a Goodwill and purchase a coat relatively cheap or you can get free coats for your children from church clothing drives and charities.
When you head out to the stores this year for your annual back-to-school shopping, keep these common public school clothing codes in mind when building your child’s school wardrobe. Save yourself the hassle of being called away from your home or work by your child’s school due to a clothing violation.
Ruqaiyya Noor is a student English teacher at Marshall University and is a featured contributor in education for Yahoo! Voices.