School Dress Code

So, I’m sitting at our school’s Registration Day, and some of the other moms are discussing the new handbook. They revise it every year, so it doesn’t surprise me that we have a new one. Usually, it’s revised to include new dates, reflects the current tuition information, that kind of thing.

But this time, there was something different, they said… THIS time, the Dress Requirements had changed! Uh, oh… There’s a part that says this:

“It is never proper to wear play clothes, such as gym shorts or tank tops into the classroom. Recommendations are that students wear slacks/skirt and shirt/blouses with sleeves. Exceptions are between April 15-Oct 15, when modest length shorts and shirts with short sleeves may be worn.”

Parents were nearly apoplectic because of the “no gym shorts” clause in there. MANY of the kids at our school wear the Nike-style shorts.  Boys and girls wear them. And the parents are hyperventilating that their kids won’t be allowed to wear these anymore.

Maybe I don’t understand because I was always brought up that gym shorts are for working out, playtime, or for lounging around at home, and there are “school clothes” that, even if they’re blue jeans, are kept a little nicer for the school setting. For the longest time, I wouldn’t let Josh wear jeans to school, but I finally broke down when he was wearing out the knees of his dress pants faster than I could fix them. Jeans were cheaper and easier to fix because I had so much extra denim around here (from previously “loved” jeans).  But he’s still required – by me – to wear mostly collared shirts, although I will allow him to wear “logo t’s” if they are from something related to school or town… a school t-shirt, a cub scout t-shirt, a soccer t-shirt, etc. He’s not allowed to wear character shirts, anything that’s torn, or looks untidy.  During the “shorts days”, Josh wears khaki-style or cargo-style shorts.

I can understand parents being up in arms about an unannounced change in the dress code this close to school. Most of them have already finished their school shopping, having taken advantage of sales during the summer. But that’s not what this is about. It’s about them having to tell their kids that they can’t wear the shorts anymore. Am I in the minority here? Am I the weird one because I don’t think it’s appropriate for kids to be wearing sweat shorts to school?

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11 Responses to School Dress Code

  1. Jenny says:

    I think Nike shorts are fine!! I see nothing wrong with that. I think the kids should wear whatever they want. As long as its appropriate. I’m fine with t-shirts & comfy shorts!

  2. SKL says:

    I was never allowed to wear shorts to school. Not even in KG. I thought that nowadays, they were allowing kids in KG and younger to wear shorts, but not older kids. Maybe I am wrong.

    Around here, many public schools have uniforms nowadays.

    So no, I don’t think it’s that big of a problem if kids can’t wear play shorts to school.

    I’m not sure it’s a problem to wear them either, though.

    Personally that would not be an issue I would put a lot of emotional energy into, one way or the other.

    As for “I don’t know how I’ll tell my kids something disappointing” – that’s a little scary. Suck it up, parents. It’s part of your job.

  3. Joy says:

    I like dressier clothes for school. When my boys were in school, they had school clothes and play clothes. They also had church clothes. I think something inside tells us when we look a little dressed up, we do better. We feel better. I think gym shorts are for gym, play or at home. I know my boys had gym clothes they kept in school and got brought home on Friday’s to be washed.

    My problem with “dress codes” are “who” follows them and “who” enforces them? I know Toby was a “bit” more of a “handful” behavior wise than Jason was and they could both wear the same shirt and it was okay for all Jason’t teachers but I always got a call to bring Toby a change of clothes. In that way it’s so unfair.

    It was the same thing when I worked at the school. When I was in the lunchroom and a kid came in a Big Johnson shirt or something I thought was way wrong for kids in school I always thought “who am I if this kid make it all the way to lunch wearing that. Sometimes I’d send them to the office and sometimes I felt defeated and didn’t. That’s unfair too.

    I feel dress codes aren’t enforced the right way and too many teachers let things go and then you have some that think everything is fine. I saw some kids who’d turn their shits inside out before going into a “mean” teachers class.

    Sorry, got off topic.

    No, I don’t think gym shorts are proper for school. BTW, do kids have school clothes and play clothes and church clothes anymore or does everything go now?

    • SKL says:

      When I was a kid, we too had “play clothes,” “school clothes,” and “church clothes.” We didn’t have a lot of nice clothes, and needed to hand them down to younger siblings. So our parents didn’t want to risk us messing up the few that were good enough for school/church. Now, as a parent, I am way more relaxed about clothes. Some of the same dresses get used for church, school, and play. I wash the girls’ clothes, but I am not very picky about making them look perfect. If they get a little stain on them that doesn’t come out with Spray-n-Wash, I still let them wear them to school if they want to. I don’t even sort laundry like my mom taught me to. Just throw it all in together. I don’t bleach or iron, either. I figure that the way kids grow, they will usually outgrow the clothes before they get sad-looking. Maybe I’ll be a little more picky if the kids ever have to wear uniforms (because then the number of school-appropriate outfits will be more limited).

  4. Sue says:

    Considering that the gym style shorts are just about the only thing that fit Christopher half way decent this summer and right now, I would not like the new rule. But, at the same time, we wouldn’t be wearing shorts outside of those dates anyway. We don’t have uniforms here and for the friends I have whose children go to private school, they only wear uniforms on ‘church’ days. I do know they have other dress rules, but I know they can wear shorts.

    I try to make sure my kids look nice when they go to school. (Or when they go anywhere) I have purchased “school clothes”, but I really don’t see anything wrong with wearing shorts to school – no matter what kind they are. I’d rather kids go clothed than not!

  5. Nikki says:

    I’ve never given this much thought. Bailey has always worn whatever he wants, which is typically something nice. Even if it happened to be gym shorts, they were nice and he always matches. Normally he’d wear jeans and either a nice t-shirt or a button down. How he looks for school (any time really) is important to him. But there are those days that he feels like dressing “lazy”…gym shorts or those jersey type pants, and I have no problem with that. As long as they aren’t stained, holey and he matches, I’m fine. He definitely has school closes that he is not to practice in or play around in.

  6. Phyllis says:

    Maybe I’m a little old fashioned, but I really believe that gym shorts or ones of that styling should not be worn to school, and the shorts that are worn should be come to at least mid-thigh on the child. T-shirts that are not showing wear are ok, but tanks are not! The clothes they begin school in when starting Kindergarten will be the clothes they consider ok for the rest of their school career, so let’s set some standards right from the start. It’s easier to instill some rules right from the start than to wait til they’re older, more fully developed (in the case of girls). If we wait til then, they won’t see anything wrong with short shorts and revealing tank tops.

    Before I upset anyone, remember that I’m of the generation that was required to wear only skirts & blouses or dresses to school and boys wore dress slacks, collared shirts, and belts were required if there were belt loops on the slacks. Dress shoes were also required. However I don’t see anything wrong with jeans, cargo pants, etc., or nice t-shirts, or other more casual tops, just not the tank tops. There’s also nothing wrong with athletic shoes. These are the standards we set for my daughter and granddaughter. There are school clothes and play clothes, they should be separate entities.

    • Laura says:

      Do you remember the first day of fourth grade? I know, you don’t. But I do. Know why? (I can still remember the picture my mom took of me, Barb, and Renee)… I GOT TO WEAR JEANS!!! It was the first. time. ever that I got to wear jeans to school, and I obsessed over it for a WEEK! I was soooo excited, because everyone else got to, and fin-uh-lee, so did I!!

      • Phyllis says:

        You must find it scary, sometimes, that your folks and I have a lot of the same standards.; since I’m closer to Mike in age. I don’t remember when I let Nee start wearing jeans to school, but I do remember that I was practically scandalized when the dress code relaxed enough to allow them. Now Chey, in high school, has been disbelieving that the school won’t allow tank tops. Every year I listen to this complaint and every year I say the same thing. Wear your tanks under another top that may be too low cut for school. Other than that I heartily agree with the school! Chey is actually a very modest dresser (outside of the house) so I really don’t see why she has an issue with this rule. I guess she just had to pick something to gripe about. LOL!

        • Laura says:

          yeah, I wear those string-type tanks ALL the time, so I always have a jacket or sweatshirt in the car to throw over if I have to stop in at the school or church. That way my shoulders are covered. Old habits die hard.

      • SKL says:

        I never even owned a pair of jeans until I was 12. That’s when we moved to a new school where we were allowed to wear them. We went to the Salvation Army on 50-cent-day and stocked up on used jeans and flannel shirts. (We still couldn’t wear shorts.)

        I just loved being able to wear jeans and t-shirts after having been so “oppressed” in our Lutheran school. I don’t believe they had any effect whatsoever on our school performance. I would be more concerned about “sexy” clothes and such.

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