If you attended Ava schools ‘back in the good old days’ there is no doubt you recall adhering to a dress code. And, it was a fairly restrictive dress code compared to today’s standards.
In my early years in elementary school, female students had to wear dresses or skirts. Pants were not allowed, but during winter months, girls wore allowed to wear slacks under dresses.
There were rules on attire for guys as well.
In the 1970s, while I was in high school, a dress code was still enforced and one rule designated a hem length for skirts and dresses.
This was the era of the mini-skirt and hot pants, and neither one were allowed in school. The rule stated skirts could only be three-inches above the knee, and yes, if you were suspected of being outside that limit, your skirt was measured.
I clearly remember Mona Decker marching me into the high school office one time. She had me stand in the back room near the big safe, while she measured my skirt with a ruler. It was three inches above the knee, right on the mark.
However, if completely honest, I have to admit that during our walk to the office, I pulled and tugged on my skirt as best I could, so the hem would pass the test. And, it barely did.
Abiding by the rule was a lesson well learned. Today, it’s a memory about a teacher who cared, and that makes me smile, .
During those days, conservative dress was the norm and it applied to everyone –– parents, teachers, administrators, custodial, secretaries and students.
Making a rebellious statement with clothing seemed different back then.
Everyone had long hair.
Guys had shaggy moptop hair styles that mimicked the Beatles. And, if they could grow a beard, mutton chops were included.
Free-spirited hippie attire was the rage, with wild psychedelic patterned bell bottoms. Big fat bell bottoms. And, let’s not overlook leisure suits, paisley prints and disco wear.
Attire was intended to make a statement, much like it is today, but as I recall, it was still presentable and decent.
Earlier this month, a Houston high school advised parents they must adhere to a dress code when they visit the school office or appear on campus. The letter to parents described unacceptable attire as pajamas of any kind, hair rollers, Daisy Duke shorts, saggy pants, leggings not appropriately covering body parts, low-cut tops, and dresses that are way too short.
The school administrator advised parents that the school is a place for learning, and part of the process includes mentoring students on how to dress for a job interview or how to properly present themselves as they work outside the home setting. It was noted parents should be exhibiting a professional standard for their own children.
The new policy received a bit of criticism as some called it discriminatory. Others cited parents cannot afford to meet the standard. They don’t have the money.
But, if you follow posts on social media, it appears the policy has readily gleaned more supporters than nay sayers. One comment noted, “Good for the school. Times are pretty bad when you have to tell parents not to wear those things. Parents should take pride in themselves and their children.”
I agree. Looking back on my time in school, parents and teachers who had the most impact and influence on my life were those revered and respected for their work ethic and compassion, but they also presented themselves well.
Names you’ll remember as well –– Mrs. Christy, Mrs. Gray, Mrs. Brown, Mrs. Ellis, Mr. Painter, Mrs. Halford, Mrs. Buchanan, Mrs. Decker, Miss Ellison, Mrs. Garrison, Mr. Walker, and the list goes on. For me, there were mentoring parents, as well as Mr. and Mrs. Glenn Harnden, Mr. and Mrs. King Shollenberger, Mr. and Mrs. Ora Tallent, Mr. and Mrs. Clifford Robertson, and more –– many, many more.
These individuals were all excellent role models no matter where they went –– not only was their dress impeccable, but so was their demeanor and attitude.
They behaved that way because it was right not because it was mandated. Yes, parents should take pride in themselves and in their children…..
Today, rather than buying pajamas, a low cut blouse or inappropriate clothing to wear around town, parents should instead opt to spend money on a versatile pair of pants or modest top. Reflect upon what is important for their own child.
Money is not the issue here.
Skewed priorities are.