In response to posts on dress codes, a reader writes:
“What a hot topic! Let me say that I have never had significant input into dress code, even though I have led schools. In the districts I have worked in, dress codes were decided by parent and teacher committees and the principal was expected to enforce the dress code. As many things coming out of committee, the dress code ended up being a series of compromises. Some of these compromises led to serious inconsistencies, a point the poster points out. The principal is then left in tight spot. If you enforce a dress code which is inconsistent or unfair, you lose credibility. If you don’t enforce the dress code, you lose credibility. So, for me dress codes have always represented a choice between two ditches I had to die in. The only dress codes I have seen work in schools are the ones that define what kids can wear. Yet most dress codes are lists of what is not acceptable, which seems to be an ever growing and non-ending list.”
At this point, this topic is now the all time post champion. Just to repeat, when it comes to dress codes, I can argue pro or con. If dress code is not a concern on your campus don’t make it one unless it serves a greater purpose. If it does serve a greater purpose, make sure that the staff models the expectation. Understand that all student performance is driven by adult practice. If you what the students to change, change the adults first.
Remember K.I.S.S. (Keep It Short and Simple). Don’t over complicate things and stay consistent. I once was working with a group of teachers and administrators that spent 2 hours hammering out dress code requirements and consequences for non-compliance. They then went to the next item of agenda, “Crazy T-shirt and Hat Day.” I was the only one who saw the irony.
Think. Work. Achieve.