Our local high school made the evening news today. For our school, this is something BIG as it is small compared to most other schools in the area, this is a relatively rural region and usually nothing exciting happens around here to warrant coverage on the television news on both the early as well as the late news broadcasts.
The issue: Kids Clothing!
Actually, labeling the issue as simply "kids clothing" is rather deceptive, so I will have to elaborate here.
The school has, as do most other schools, a "Dress code policy." I suppose at the beginning of the school year, Kate - the 15-year-old here - brought home a copy of it and I am assuming I may have at least given it a passing glance, and surely Mandy - the stepmother in the house - read it at some point too. If this was indeed published in the dress code at the beginning of the year, I either missed it or just blew it off. But it has now become a major issue at the school.
The problem being kids wearing the jeans that are the fad now - tres, tres vogue you know to wear jeans that are very tattered, torn, worn, faded out in appearance and are not that way from use but are purchased in that condition. And, the prices of any jeans today - whether it be the type really popular which cost an arm and a leg - or the "plain jane" variety, which also cost - well, depending on ones' budget, an arm and a leg too!
It seems that yesterday the school principal announced that beginning today, any student wearing jeans that are ripped, torn, raggedy, etc., would either be sent home, would have to contact a family member to bring a different pair of jeans to the school, or if neither of those options could be fulfilled, the student would sit the day out in the school gym or auditorium, thus missing classes for the day and a suspension apparently would follow suit.
Now, considering the dress code that was never posted back when I went to grade school and high school but nonetheless was quite well known and understood too by one and all concerned - students and parents alike - this would never have been an issue to begin with then! Although by the time I hit high school, boys and girls were permitted to wear blue jeans but the apparel all had to be NEAT, Clean, not holy, exposing many areas of the body, etc. In other words, appropriate enough to not draw undue attention to the student's clothing and away from the reason for being in school in the first place - to learn, to study!
But, after watching the interview on the news with the principal and then, learning how he had responded to some students today about this issue, I think he - and the rest of the administration screwed up!
While I was initially in favor of their having a dress code and upholding it, why wait until mid-December to enforce this portion and why do it in this manner?
One student - a straight A-student too, she is - confronted him about this and the logic behind the school's actions. She was scheduled to take an exam today in her Physics class but, because of her choice of jeans, was forbidden to take the exam unless either a parent could bring her another pair of jeans or she could drive home and change and return - which would cause her to miss the exam. To force a student to miss an exam solves or resolves nothing pertaining to the basic issue here.
This young lady also questioned him about students whose parents perhaps could not afford to purchase new apparel at the drop of a hat and his response to that was "Who can't afford to go buy a new pair of jeans?" Excuse me? What did you say? This is an economically repressed area! Many people are struggling just to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table and can't just go buy new clothes whenever the school dictates they must do that!
Personally, I don't like the fashion of the jeans manufactured with holes, rips, tears in the seams, etc., and to pay the exhorbitant prices asked for such items really brings forth the Scottish blood in my ancestry. Brings out my mother's frugal Swedish blood too for that matter! Frankly, if I were the parent buying clothes for a teen today, the stores selling merchandise like that would never get a sale from me! If I am going to buy new clothing, it better be well sewn, no rips, tears, fraying at all, any place within the piece! But, who am I to dictate to the fashion moguls, the designers who create these things and then convince these kids that this is the really cool look, everyone should have an entire wardrobe consisting of jeans like these!
At my age, with my children grown, in essence, I really don't have "a dog in this race." But, because this teenager in our school district does live here, in my home, with her father, stepmother, two half-siblings and me, then perhaps I do have a say in this matter after all.
And right now, in our home, economics, finances, finding enough money to keep the roof over our heads being of dire need immediately, and trying to figure out how to keep the house heated throughout the coming winter months, pay the electric bill, other incidental expenses of operating the home which keep going up but the income into the house doesn't do the same or not proportionately if there is an increase, then this man, the principal at the school was totally in the wrong for enforcing this rule this late in the school year, with only a one day's notice to the students and especially with the inconsiderate, rude comments he made about parents and what purchases he deems are within reach of any and all parents of these students!
My daughter is even considering writing a letter to the editor of the local paper but I reminded her if she does that, we will have to find the money to buy an ink cartridge for my printer as it is totally out of ink and those puppies run around $30 for a black cartridge and $48 for a black cartridge and a color ink combo! And no, we really can't afford that extra expense right now, especially since the school thinks we can afford to go and buy new jeans for this kid's wardrobe now too!
But, there is a very good possibility that the next school board meeting just might find me seated there and registered as one who would like permission to speak and address this issue at that time, in public and perhaps, explain a small lesson to the principal, the school board and other concerned citizens, parents, students of the community of what one person deems as affordable may be completely out of reach to many, many others in this little community!
How would you react to something like this happening in your local school, to your child - to your pocketbook too?