My old high school was in the news this past week – and not in a good academic way. Things had been spurred by a Facebook post from a parent who wasn’t happy with a poster in her child’s classroom. You can read about it here.
When I heard the teaser before the news, my immediate reaction was that they hadn’t yet fixed the air conditioning. In the spring, until things started working well, the school could be freezing one day and blazing hot the next. I had an interior classroom and couldn’t even open those little windows that come in air conditioned buildings.
But, no, this wasn’t about the temperature. It was about a poster that was on a classroom wall telling students what not to wear in the school.
As we watched the report, we thought about all the people who would have seen a student during the course of the day – parents/siblings at home, bus driver, other students getting off the bus or walking to school, teachers monitoring the hallways as student go to homeroom, perhaps principal and vice-principals who were walking the hallways – and yet it must have been an issue that the teacher felt needed addressing.
So, what hit the fan wasn’t the clothing but the poster on the wall. The parent of one of the students took to Facebook to share it and allow others to comment (and they did). Somehow, the local CTV affiliate learned of it and turned it into a story. At that point, it became known everywhere and a trustee was interviewed and indicated that the dress code would be reviewed in an upcoming meeting.
Something like clothing should have this covered would be in the school handbook. I know that we would be reminded at a staff meeting to review it with students as spring starts to happen. I would have thought it easier in a Catholic School but Patti Walker shared with me ways to get around the rules in a discussion at a Bring IT, Together Conference.
Dress codes will always be a bone of contention, I suppose. As a teacher, I always wore a dress shirt, tie, and jacket. It’s not the true me but I’d dress for the occasion. This issue brought back a memory of one particular day when all my dress pants were in the wash (don’t judge me) and I wore blue jeans with a shirt and tie. One of the teachers in my department made the comment that I looked very “avant-garde”. People do notice, I guess.
It’s not the dress code or the handbook that is the issue for me. It’s knowing that your child has an issue. My parents and my wife and I would make a phone call to talk to the teacher if we have concerns. These days, even email could be an option. Getting no action would have led to a call to the principal although I don’t ever remember taking it to that level.
We do live in a different world these days but I’m uncomfortable with taking to Social Media to try to embarrass a solution. Am I wrong? If so, tell me why.
To leave on a positive note, Sandwich really is an incredible school and they had great news to share the week as well.
Go Orange and Royal Blue.