The debate is ramping up at our local school board meetings.
Board members, parents and young children alike are showing up to argue about the width of shoulder straps girls can wear at school.
For the first time in 10 years, the Williamson County school board is updating the dress code. Acceptable attire has always been a difficult line to draw, but even a decade ago, there were many fewer factors at play. There’s new language that I’m pretty sure we would have been confounded by back in the comparatively quaint and innocent aughts.
A big issue in this discussion is whether our dress code is sexist and puts the burden of not “being a distraction” solely on girls. Many would say it also demeans boys by assuming that they can’t control their wandering eyes and hormone-fueled thoughts.
As the mother of two girls and one boy, I can understand the foundation of this argument. Should it be the girls’ responsibility for boys keeping their little pervy brains in check? No. BUT, you know, biology. I believe 110% that boys can and should control their words and actions. But those little testosterone flooded brains? I think that’s a lot to ask of kids who are learning to deal with these hormones. I bet we all know some grown adults who have trouble with that concept even after decades of experience.
It is no surprise at all that the students are advocating for a less-conservative dress code. They are kids and it’s their job to be completely self-absorbed and only want to wear what they saw some ridiculous celebrity wearing. According to today’s teen, any restriction on clothing suppresses their individuality. Can you hear my eyes rolling?
But guess what, Mamas and Daddies? They. Are. Children.
Yep, even your 17-year-old senior. I know how cliché it is to say “As long as you live under my roof, you’ll abide by my rules” but there’s a reason that adage has hung in there for so many years. It’s because your minor children are not yet equipped with a brain that can process all of the necessary factors in making some decisions.
Can they choose their own style? Of course. Will you sometimes need to tell them to march themselves back to their room and cover up their rear end? Absolutely. It’s our joy and privilege as parents to cramp their style. When they are adults they can dress as ridiculously as they please — have a ball!
I am sure I’m not alone in wondering why we can’t just make them wear uniforms and be done with it. Hahaha! Just kidding. I know it would be tragic for our babies not to be able to establish the hierarchy of status based upon how fashionable/expensive their clothes are. And we parents would have to default to judging other kids by looking at the parents’ cars. Hard times, friends.
I realize that we have to have a clear code for our students to abide by and I appreciate that our board considers the input of staff, parents and students alike. The WillCo school board has A LOT going on right now and I have so much respect for their time and work. Maybe we could all cut them some slack and step up to the plate. We could make sure our kids are dressed appropriately for school now AND when the new dress code is established. We could take the high road and not show up at school with rulers to prove that the shoulder strap is 1.0000001 wide.
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Overheard at the salon: “Oh, like you’ve never made out in the back of a movie theater!”
Julie Holt is a wife, mother of three, hair stylist, runner, reader, writer, and is tired. Very tired. She works in Brentwood, lives in Spring Hill and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow Julie on Twitter @jh_lighter_side.