Tuesday, October 21, 2008

This just in from Azúcar

Speaking of news that strikes a nerve...

Apparently I'm not the only parent dealing with dress code issues.

* Last month, Shabraia Dodd, 15, was charged with assault on a police officer after she was arrested for wearing a jacket to East Ridge High School in East Ridge, Tenn. Shabraia acknowledged that she was in violation of the dress code, which prohibits wearing jackets in class, but she said she was recovering from a cold and had offered to remove the jacket after class.

She said she refused to be handcuffed “because I didn’t commit any crime.”

Frankly, I would have gone the "Arrest me!" route (as quoted by another mother in an incident mentioned elsewhere in this story) over that one.

While the dress code giving me fits isn't this extreme (yet), it's just as inane. One day my daughter got sent to the office three times (and cleared each time) over the same issue. The collared shirt was one thing, but there are teachers who send kids to the office if the shirt is worn on the inside instead of the outside of another shirt. Another teacher who insists the shirt must be buttoned up (Hello?!). And there are children who are non-compliant who seem untouchable while others who get sent to the office for non-issues--wasting valuable instruction time.

The worst part for me, as a parent, is the school's non-compliance with their own enforcement terms. The first step for any violation (real or perceived) is supposed to be a call to the parents. I have instructed my daughter (who is in compliance with the code they approved, just not always the tiny details they are making up as they go) to tell administrators to please feel free to call me. Not once have they called.

What's up with that?


La Yen said...

Seriously? Seriously?
This is just begging for some kind of legal action. And protest.
I will start thinking...

wendy said...

Good grief. I hate stuff like that. I hope our schools aren't doing dress codes by the time ds is in school. So petty.

dalene said...

I need to clarify--I'm not opposed to dress codes as long as they are sensible and are enforced with some degree of uniformity and decorum.

dalene said...

So we just had an interesting learning experience (and I hope my daughter gets it). Because she's been frustrated by the completely inconsistent way the school has applied and enforced the dress code, this week she just stopped wearing collared shirts. Finally we got a call, but it went to voicemail because we weren't home. We played the message back to her and told her she needed to wear collared shirts. She said to me, "I thought you were on my side." And I was able to explain to her that I am on her side when they are taking it too far or making up things as they go, but that she has been clear on at least wearing a collared shirt (on the inside, outside, buttoned up or unbuttoned--as part of a layered look, of course). We let her know when she's deliberately violating the code she will be accountable for her choices.

I hope it was a good learning experience for her--to know how to distinguish the difference.

Johnna said...

Your school people's inability to sensibly and consistently run their dress code screams their incompetence.

I shouldn't be surprised, considering they complete lack of enforcing the previous dress code.

At least you can make clear, logical, and consistent distinctions to your daughter. Once again proving the best predictor of a child's educational success is the parents.

Could your daughter carry a copy of the dress code in her notebook, and ask the teacher to point the rule being violated before she kicks her out of class? Since this making up rules about buttons and layering is crazy.