Texas Schools Spark Debate: What Should Kids Wear in Class?
Does it matter what students wear to school?
By: Kirsten Brooker | July 1, 2022 | 790 Words
Does it matter what students wear in the school environment? The debate surrounding school dress codes has gone on for decades. Some say uniforms are best, others suggest pupils should express themselves how they like. Clothes do make an impression on other people, and can even affect how you feel when you are wearing them. So, what is the best kind of outfit to wear in the classroom?
A Texas district recently stirred debate with its new “professional” dress code for students, while a North Carolina school got in legal trouble over its uniform.
Grown-Up Dress Code
The Forney Independent School District (FISD) in Texas recently explained that, beginning in the 2022-23 school year, there would be changes to what can be worn on school campuses in the area. The new rules ban any jacket, coat, or sweatshirt having a hood, and disallowed students in grades five and above from wearing dresses, skirts, or skorts. Additionally, students are not allowed to wear denim pants, sleeveless shirts, or any clothing with holes. Instead, students are asked to wear shirts, slacks, shorts, or capri pants in a solid black, navy, or khaki color.
Not surprisingly, the new rules caused frustration and anger in many parents and students in the FISD district. Those who disagree with the rules feel they are unnecessary that they and prevent kids from being able to express themselves and their individuality. One student started a petition against the rule changes and has gathered about 3,500 signatures.
Superintendent Justin Terry explained in a video that the new rules were put in place to promote a professional atmosphere and prepare the students for life in the workforce, where many jobs require uniforms or hold a strict dress code.
A voiceover from a student can be heard in the video stating, “I may be a little young to understand what professionalism means right now, but the skills I’m learning are an essential part of being successful in my future career. Every profession has a dress code, whether it’s scrubs, a welding helmet or a chef’s apron. The way I dress plays an important role in professionalism and safety, both in the classroom and on the job site.”
Students who violate the code will be asked to change clothes. If they do not have something to change into at school, they will be placed in in-school suspension until someone can drop off proper attire.
Legal Challenge to Mandatory Skirts
Meanwhile, a court has weighed in on girls’ uniforms at one school in Leland, North Carolina. A federal appeals court ruled that a charter school violated its female students’ rights by requiring that they wear skirts to attend classes. Public schools cannot place such strict regulations on their students’ clothing. Like traditional public schools, charter schools receive funds from the government. Therefore, parents argued that female students should have the freedom to choose between wearing skirts or pants.
Much of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that the dress code violated the girls’ rights. Bonnie Peltier, a parent of a female student and a plaintiff in the case, said, “I’m glad the girls at Charter Day School will now be able to learn, move, and play on equal terms as the boys in school. In 2022, girls shouldn’t have to decide between wearing something that makes them uncomfortable or missing classroom instruction time.”
Do you feel the dress code at your school is fair? Should schools supply uniforms or enforce strict clothing rules? Should students have more freedom in choosing their attire, or do young people need to get used to the adult world where clothes have a bigger impact on life?
School Uniforms Around the World
Australia – School uniforms are required in nearly all schools. Typically, the color scheme reflects that of the school’s colors. Private and Catholic school dress codes are the strictest.
Canada – Most educational centers do not require uniforms except in Catholic schools.
France – Other than a few exceptions, most schools do not require uniforms. However, a former teacher is working to enforce a stricter dress code for students in the country. Military and boarding schools are known to require uniforms for their attendees.
Japan – Uniforms are nearly universally required in Japan. The main exception is elementary schools, where a strict dress code is not always in place.
India – School uniforms are taken very seriously in India. Therefore, all learning centers have a strict uniform policy, including clothes, ID cards, and even hairstyles.