In Her Shell
Thursday, June 01, 2006
When I arrived in the cafeteria for my Study Hall duty yesterday, the staff assistant on duty told me wryly, "Oh, you might have to go see [the Assistant Principal in charge of dress code violations]."

Me: Huh?

S.A.: [The Principal] was up here during lunch today sending girls down to the office left and right because they were wearing shirts like yours!

(My shirt yesterday looked kind of like this:

except it did not have a supercool race car on it! It was just plain, dark blue.)

Me: I'm confused.

S.A.: Well, he sent a lot of girls down there to change.

This raised my blood pressure for several reasons.

One, I am not secretive about my feelings regarding the inequitable enforcement of the dress code. Two, my professionalism, along with that of my fellow young female colleagues, was called into question earlier this year on a dress code issue, an accusation which was humiliating and later determined to be baseless. Three, with heat and humidity being what it has been these past few days, I would love to see anyone in Administration leave their air-conditioned offices to teach or learn on a block schedule in our stuffy classrooms. Four, due to dust and noise from construction on the building, many of those stuffy classrooms cannot have their windows opened. And Five,

My shirt does not violate the dress code!

The student dress code, that is. There is no written dress code for teachers. Spaghetti straps or tank tops are banned, not high-collared, sleeveless shirts with or without supercool racecar appliques.

I put this out of my mind until this morning, when I happened to be walking into the building at the same time as said Principal. As we walked down the hallway to the Main Office, I observed him directing the following comment to several girls:

P.: Shoulders. Shoulders... Shoulders!

P.: Do you have something to put on? To cover up?

Shoulders. SHOULDERS? Bra straps, OK. Cleavage, clearly. Boobs, of course! (Even 'armpits' I could sort of understand.) But, shoulders? What Victorian mindset have we rolled into? My blood pressure skyrocketed again. This is where the energy is devoted?

The sky was threatening rain this morning. Lucky for me, since I was wearing a jacket, and under the jacket were my shoulders. Exposed. Once again.


You shameless shoulder baring HUSSY! You should be ashamed! You're nothing but a slut. A British slut!

Every morning there are repeated reminders over the intercom at school about dress code and spagetti straps, etc. I agree that dress codes tend to focus more on the girls than the boys, but at the same time, very few of my boys come to school looking like they have a casting call for a Nelly video after school.

I am wearing a sleeveless shirt today, and the administration won't say a word. On the other hand, one of the male teachers was reprimanded last year for wearing shorts in his 95 degree classroom. I suggested that the male teachers get together and all wear skirts, but nothing came of it.
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