Skip to comments.Too much skin showing at school?
Posted on 04/30/2004 11:00:07 AM PDT by presidio9
Malena Schroeder is fed up.
She's fed up with high school students wearing visible thong underwear, blue jeans that droop low on the hips or skimpy blouses that show - in her opinion - too much skin.
A Mundelein High School District 120 board member who also regularly volunteers at the school, Schroeder doesn't consider herself prudish. But she's tired of walking through the school hallways and seeing provocatively dressed kids who look like they popped out of a racy music video.
"If I'm an adult and I'm distracted, I can only imagine what effect it might have on teenagers in that environment," she said.
During a board meeting earlier this week, Schroeder called for administrators to more stringently enforce the facility's dress code or adopt stricter rules that could include uniforms. She received support from other trustees and from audience members who applauded her request.
The proposal also was backed by Superintendent Stan Fields, who promised a committee will study the issue.
"There's something to be said for preparing students for life after high school and (teaching) appropriate grooming habits and dress habits," Fields said. "It's pretty difficult to get a job when your rear end is hanging out."
Mundelein isn't the only suburban high school wrestling with dress-code concerns. Wauconda High School and the other schools in Wauconda Unit District 118 tightened clothing policies for the 2003-04 term, banning belly-baring tops, low-rise pants and other revealing garments.
Similar rules have been adopted in recent years at high schools in Buffalo Grove, Naperville, St. Charles and other towns.
Public-school dress codes, including those requiring students wear uniforms, are legal under Illinois and federal laws. Although courts have ruled garments with political slogans are protected by the First Amendment, educators can restrict the size or style of student clothing.
"You have the right to free expression. You probably don't have the right to show off your belly ring," said Ed Yohnka, spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union (news - web sites) of Illinois.
Mundelein High updated its dress code in 2002. Among the restrictions is a rule requiring clothes cover all skin and underwear between the armpit and mid-thigh.
Violators can be asked to change into more appropriate clothes or wear a baggy Mundelein High T-shirt over offending garments, school spokeswoman Kelley Happ said. On "rare occasions," she said, some are sent home.
Schroeder, who has two teenagers enrolled at Mundelein, believes those rules aren't properly enforced. Too many times she's seen students with pants that don't cover their underwear or whose shirts reveal skin at the midriff.
"It's become the norm," she said. "There's a time and a place for that kind of dress. It shouldn't be school attire."
If parents can't control what their kids wear, Schroeder said, school administrators or the board must step in and make sure teens are dressed appropriately. If that means stronger enforcement of the existing dress code or the adoption of uniforms, she said, so be it.
"It's our responsibility to make sure that our kids can focus and have some decorum," Schroeder said.
Mundelein High junior Stephanie Urban thinks officials who want to crack down on dress-code abuses are overreacting. Students dress better than they used to, she said.
Jessy Wisniewski, another junior, likes to wear shorts or skirts to school and said she has been sent home for sporting clothes considered too risque.
"I'm 16. I can legally drive. But people are going to tell me (what's) appropriate for school?" she said. "I mean, I'm not coming to school dressed in a bikini."
Students who oppose uniforms may have a surprising ally: board President Thomas M.P. Hannigan, who thinks better enforcement of the existing code is the answer.
"My high school had a uniform. My grammar school had a uniform. And I don't think I learned any better because of that," Hannigan said. "I think we have a reasonable dress code. Before the school board jumps in and makes changes, let's see how an enforced dress code works."
Dress: Board president doesn't back uniforms
The mirror on the shoe was too obvious?
I was shopping for clothes with my daughter at walmart and they had short shorts for what looked to fit 8 year olds. Pissed me off big time.
My town is conservative , they were on clearance and still not being bought.(thank goodness)
I guess the enforcement part is the difficult part. In the 70's I once had to tell a young female sudent that she needed to come to school in a dress that was at least long enough to sit on. I threatened to send her home if she did not comply. (I told her she was distracting me - No doubt today I would have been brought up on charges) But back then I got away with it, she did not mean to get in trouble, she only wanted to draw some attention to herself. I did not do this in front of the whole class, I waited till class was over and told her privately as she left the room. (It worked.)
This dufus doesn't get it - what you wear is not intended to make you learn "better" but to allow you learn in an environment that is healthier and not distracting. Adherance to a dress code is a way to instill discipline not only in the kids but also the parents.
It all changed between 1966 and 1970 -- where we were in Northern Calfiornia -- as girls became "weekend hippie flower children", going braless (and pantiless) to San Francisco in very short shift dresses, low rider jeans and showing lots of belly. In all honesty, I'm not so sure what we see now is a whole lot different, except for the tatoos and piercings, from what you saw in Haight Ashbury in San Francisco in the Summer of 1967.
And if she has any doubt, just let her ask any former teenager!
Just watch out where those huskies go and
don't eat no yellow snow.
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