- United States
i live in Austin, Texas. The Austin Independent School District is in the process of updating its dress code, partially in response to legal action alleging gender and racial discrimination. I actually agree that it so discriminates, but then I am not afraid of a person just because they are black and wearing a hoodie. Truth be told a country guy with a bunch of keys on a chain and the imprint of his chaw can on his rear pocket freaks me out more. I digress. Under consideration are allowing the wearing of short shorts and spaghetti straps (not really surprised) and pajamas (!) and allowing underwear to show as long as the entire article is not visible. One of the points I have heard raised is “if that’s what makes them comfortable, it’s okay as long as they are focused on learning.” To that I offer my observation that learning how the world dresses and behaves is of value, perhaps more value for some than learning about parabolas and diagramming sentences. I also share that I was sent to boys schools that required coats and ties. Since our buildings were not air conditioned, once the mercury was regularly hitting the mid-eighties, we were allowed to wear Bermuda shorts. Our academic dean observed to me that when that took place academic performance fell off markedly. I don’t know that this establishes a direct correlation, but dressing up a bit does bring about decorum that has some value. At any rate, Austin is clearly leaning towards sartorial anarchy as a panacea, and I’m saddened by it. Just imagine how jarring and uncomfortable it will be for these kids if work ever requires them to dress up a bit.