Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Dress Coded

Patrick Bassett, President of the National Association of Independent Schools, began an article back in 2009 with the following:

“At the NAIS Institute for New Heads each year, I give school leaders a wry piece of advice: “If something goes terribly askew at school, and you need to buy time to rectify it before your parent body finds out, suggest a change to the dress code. This tactic will keep parents distracted for at least 18 months in dress-code debates, giving you plenty of time to quietly fix the problem.”


This morning I heard someone say “Not all of you are turning kids in (for dress code violations)...”

I guess I am not doing my job.  I have not “turned anyone in” for dress code violations in quite a while.  Not ever, really, that I can recall.

I have asked students to tuck in shirts and button buttons from time to time, but I hate to think I am shirking my responsibilities as a teacher for not imposing a penalty that may accumulate in a demerit for wayward dress violations.  In all honesty, I usually just don’t see them.

Now, I have to tell you, I like human bodies.  I like looking at them. They are the coolest thing to draw and paint, and I appreciate the bulbous and the billowy as much as the slender and the graceful.  I usually just don’t pay that much attention to how they are covered, or not (Victoria’s Secret and Men’s Fitness notwithstanding).

I honestly do not understand all the fuss about dress code, unless it is indeed meant as a distraction, a diversion to prevent us from noticing something more substantive that should be addressed.

But if we are going to require a dress code, and especially uniforms, then we should, indeed be uniform.  Let’s all wear robes, similar to Monks.

Thick black robes in winter, and thin white robes in summer.

We can even be naked underneath...who will know the difference? I’m naked under the clothes I wear everyday anyway.

But if we do so, let us hope the winds never blow in a wayward direction.  Gods forbid the visible body.

Then Bassett went on to say:

“Next July, for the new group of school heads, I’m going to add a similar strategy for keeping the faculty preoccupied: “If you need to implement a change that would normally cause gnashing of teeth and drawing of battle lines among your teachers, do it after you form a task force to study changing the compensation system to a merit-pay model. The faculty will be so annoyed and preoccupied by the merit-pay proposal that the other change will seem minor by comparison.”

Funny.  That seems vaguely relatable as well...

Dress code is no. 88

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