Skip to comments.Adults need to draw a line for modesty
Posted on 03/13/2006 12:09:46 PM PST by klossg
That was by far my favorite word in the letter Andover's West Middle School Principal Denise Holmes e-mailed to parents regarding their children's attire, or lack thereof, at school.
Her note was prompted by the outfits a group of girls was wearing on Valentine's Day, with skirts so short that ... well, let Ms. Holmes explain. "This one girl had the cutest pink underwear on," she said. "I shouldn't have known that."
Well, no. But she's not the problem. The problem is that all the boys knew it as well.
So Holmes sent out a gentle reminder. Very gentle. No outrage. Not even a moderate guilt trip. Just a confession that she and the faculty, "have become increasingly concerned as some skirts have become increasingly short and some pants' waistbands have become increasingly low. ... Many of you have given us support for the standard we have tried to set and maintain," she wrote. "However, we feel there has been slippage, and we want to try to bring up the standard to where it was."
Slippage. Oh yes, there has been slippage. And slippage, you know, leads to cleavage, in the front for the girls and in the back for the boys, who apparently all want to be plumbers when they grow up.
And that ought to be point No. 1. These kids are not grown up. They are in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades. It would be worse than inappropriate for a grown woman to walk around with a skirt so short that her cute, pink underwear was showing, unless she was soliciting on some dark urban street or appearing at the Academy Awards. When girls aged 11 to 13 are doing it, there ought to be alarm bells going off.
But no. Maybe 20 years ago, even 10 years ago, there might have been outrage and some penalties to pay. But there has been slippage from the administrative side as well. Holmes was almost apologetic, hastening to say that she and her faculty don't want to be "fashion police" or start a "clothing war" with kids or their parents. There were just pleas for a "positive school environment," even though "positive" can depend on your, uh, point of view. I'll bet the boys thought those outfits were waaay positive.
This is not a new battle. It's been going on at least since the 1950s, when the boys slicked their hair into ducktails, slouched around in jeans and rolled cigarette packs into their sleeves and the girls got in trouble for wearing long, but very tight, skirts. Of course, today, anybody dressed like that would probably get the faculty award for modesty and belong to the Young Republicans Club.
That's because the decency line keeps moving. And so does the reaction from the alleged authorities. A couple of years ago it wasn't even the kids protesting a dress code. It was teachers in Exeter, N.H.
That is because adults, who have been teaching for a generation now that kids have to "develop their own values" and "discover what is right for them" are now stuck trying to figure out how to say that something is wrong without saying it. Ten years from now, there will probably be a gentle note from a principal suggesting that maybe, just maybe, girls shouldn't be wearing thongs to school.
They are petrified at even suggesting that there might be a moral component to all this because, of course, the only real sin today is to suggest that there is such a thing as right or wrong. The generation that demanded that dress codes and every other code be eliminated is now reduced to pleading for some restraint in clothing because it can be "distracting."
Gee, you think? You think that kids whose hormones are starting to run wild might be distracted by outfits that would have been considered racy at the beach a generation ago? Talk about understatement.
Principals and teachers don't have to be fashion police. But how about growing enough of a spine to be the modesty police? There is a reason kids are in school. It is because they are immature. They don't have good judgment. They need to be told what to do and not do, and sometimes that means being told what to wear.
School leaders shouldn't be hesitant or apologetic about that. It is part of being civilized, every bit as much as declaring zero tolerance for hate or bigotry. How about zero tolerance for sleaze? Amid the rush to pass state laws requiring sex education for our grade-school children, it ought to be just as important for parents and teachers to teach children to respect one another. Boys should be taught not to view girls simply as objects of gratification, and girls should be taught not to wear things that encourage boys to look at them that way.
There is a moral component to it. Modesty is much more right than wrong. And there should be no shame in saying so.
Taylor Armerding writes for The Eagle-Tribune in North Andover, Mass.
Parents can get help on sexuality through John Paul II's teaching of The Theology of the Body.
My daughters must pass inspection before they go to school. And having them go to a school where my wife teaches helps as well. No sneaking skimpy shorts or tops in their book bag....
my girls wear what i tell them to wear or I swore to them they would be all wearing school uniforms
Tell me about it. This attitude is everywhere.
I'd like to meet and smack the kids that started the outrage of boys wearing their pants down to their thighs.
I have only boys but friends with girls say shopping for school clothing is a bear. They offer sexy stuff for first graders! All I have to worry about is the youngest keeping his pants above his crack.
Just wait until you have to share that problem in regards to teenage girls, with the high school teachers here in the San Fernando Valley.
All too many of the girls here have their "cracks" showing, and I mean in the BACK. As a parent of two of the most modestly dressed girls in such schools, I am no less than scandalized by this trend, for it was not that long ago that I was a boy with raging hormones, and if it had been like this in my own high school days, I would have never learned anything of academic substance. Fortunately for me, I went to an all-boys high school. We actually thought about the curriculum. Imagine that!
So we are supposed to think that rape and drugs will be controllable in this environment? Don't tell me rape isn't part of the equation. Hell, if a boy thus enticed by a girl can get it for free with her consent, what's the difference? He ends up raping her physical innocence, if not her moral sense.
The slippage is not just in clothes, it's in moral standards.
She was in the pool.
What? Oh, nevermind.
That would be the girls that pay attention to them. Girls set the moral standards for the boys. If all the girls would simply ignore the boys who "sag" (that's the name of the practice of wearing pants at the hip socket level or LOWER), then trust me, the boys would knock it off overnight, guaranteed.
I saw a Barbie-looking cheerleader run up to someone she was excited to see, and then as they started to hug, she rolled her hips forward like she was trying to polish the other's belt buckle with her groin. But that's not all: the "other" was another girl. They tell me that about a third of the senior girls claim to be "lesbo" or "bi."
When the boys run laps in PE, they wear their PE shorts so low their underwear is entirely showing. They scuffle on the track unable to move their legs above the knee because that's where the shorts are sagged to. They have to hold the elastic waist up with one finger so the shorts don't fall off all the way. And the girls watch this. Like I said, if the girls ignored it, it would stop. The coaches are a pile of wimps who have been cowed into submission by the LAUSD administration who tells them not to make things too difficult for the kids, for fear of lawsuits for "discrimination." You see, most of the offending boys are Mexican or Black, and that would be racist, get it?
**He ends up raping her physical innocence, if not her moral sense.**
I agree with all that you said. One thing, though. Now that I am being a mom to boys and know them so well, I know that they are really sweet and innocent as much as the girls are. Both boys and girls have raging hormones - not one is doing anything TO the other and both are tempting to the other. The trick for parents is to foil them at every turn! And good luck on that one!:)
You are barking up the wrong tree, my friend. Theology of the Body is a pile of garbage, and I don't mind saying so. I am Catholic, so you can't blame me for not being one. The sad fact is, the entire legacy of JPII is a tragic blemish on the history of the Church or worse. Take my advice and don't even go there. Before you know it you'll be suckered in to having dilusions of ambiguity between sacrament and sex. It makes me shudder to wonder what must have been going through the mind of this man when he celebrated Mass. Nothing more obscene is possible in philosophy than to confuse the one with the other, and that is precisely what this conundrum, Theology of the Body, does.
If you don't know what you're talking about, my warning should be sufficient, but if you do know and are trying to deliberately lead others into the snake pit of deception, the place you are headed is no place anyone in their right mind would want to go. So beware.
Thanks. I needed that.
Let's see if I get this.
School identifies a problem. School writes a respectful e-mail reminding parents of the standards. Columnist gets (pink?) panties in a twist because school didn't call out parents as heathens and didn't expel any of the future hookers. Columnist then milks it for a whole column.
Okay, got it.
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