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    Monday, April 03, 2006

    Anti-"Distraction" Dress Codes

    An eighth-grader was taken out of class Tuesday because of her hair coloring, KMBC-TV in Kansas City reported.

    An administrator at Bueker Middle School said the girl's red highlights were distracting to other students.

    But it goes on.

    "Doing this is taking away from people's individuality," student Kristen McCorkle said.

    The 14-year-old, who is a straight-A student, said the school's assistant principal told her she had to go to in-school suspension and that she would be there until her hair is fixed.

    "I didn't think that any of this would happen," the eighth-grader said.

    She said she understands that some hairstyles can be distracting, but she doesn't think hers is.

    "Like colors that are totally out of the norm, blue, or green, or purple. But I think red is more normal and I don't think that many people would disagree with me," she said.

    So, "individuality" is really only important when it's expressed through "normal" colors, Ms. McCorkle?

    Okay, so I'm picking on a kid again. `

    But seriously, this kind of thing is so dumb. I don't think uniforms are a bad idea as long as they are school-funded. In fact, I kind of think they're a good idea, though I never went to the kind of school that had them, because then no one gets made fun of because they don't have the hot new (expensive) hip clothes.

    The problem is that most public schools won't go with a uniform because of the horror it strikes in teenagers, but prefer instead to go with a dress code that is based on making sure no one is ever "distracted". What's defined as distracting is anything that veers off the well-worn path of white middle-class "respectability".

    I think I've blogged about this before, but my high school would send girls home for wearing those "distracting" tank tops when it was 85+ degrees!

    Things like "jerseys" or "sagging pants" were also "distracting".

    Not distracting? American Eagle polo shirt tucked into only moderately baggy cargo shorts.

    Hat tip to Quaker Agitator.


    Blogger Omnipotent Poobah said...

    In my day (God I hate how old that makes me sound) you couldn't get away with the tank tops, baggy cargo shorts, jeans, sneakers, shirts sans buttons, etc. And I didn't go to a school with uniforms, but did go to one with no air conditioning in a place where the temperature routinely reaches the 90s.

    Times change in some ways and not in others.

    11:28 AM  
    Blogger EL said...

    Uphill both ways, huh?

    Seriously though- UGH! That sounds awful.

    11:48 AM  
    Blogger quakerdave said...

    Um, this will get me in trouble, but...

    I do support the girl in this case, as was evident from my posting.


    As a middle school teacher going into my eighth year, I would vote for school "uniforms" for my school IN A HEARTBEAT if given the chance.

    Uniform: school polo (choice of four school colors), and khaki/cargo style pants. Sneakers. And goofy dyed hair.

    Why? Girls who dress like dancers on MTV videos. Boys who dress like thugs. It IS distracting, esp. to the male students, who don't need any further distractions, frankly.

    Or, maybe I'm just getting to be an old fart after all...

    5:35 PM  
    Blogger EL said...


    I'm no middle-school teacher, but I'm with you all the way on the uniforms. I guess the "distracting" thing bugs me because it's always levied against the kids who aren't the white middle-class norm. If everyone had to wear one thing, even if it was some middle-class looking preppy thing, I feel like "dress codes" would be less of a way for punishing the kids who don't "fit" and more about reducing distractions.

    10:12 PM  

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