Ah, the dress code battle. Every teacher just loves to play fashion police, don't we?
That being said, it's nice when it works.
We've noticed some changes in the neighborhood the past year or so, and a few weeks ago we had one of the officers from the local anti-gang task force come in and educate us on local gangs, gang activity, how to spot gang symbols, etc. One of the things that struck home was the uniform that many gang members wear to identify themselves. We were seeing some of this on kids, especially our boys, even those as young sixth grade.
So The Principal has declared our school a safe zone, and gang free, and she's prepared to do what it takes to see that this becomes a reality. And the first battle to be waged was involving dress code, in particular sagging.
I hate sagging. Absolutely hate it. I felt like all I did my first two years was tell boys to pull up their damn pants. It looks stupid. When I see someone who's sagging my first impression is "well, there goes a moron," because what person in his right mind would wear his pants down to his crotch so he has to hold them up when he walks? I swear they look like boys who've taken a dump in their diapers.
And how come the boys' wear pants that are so loose you could fit three kids in them, but the girls wear pants so tight you're afraid they'll pop a zipper?
All parents received a letter home regarding the anti-sagging enforcement (I wish I had a copy of it handy as it was so well-written - she's a former English teacher.). We had an automatic phone call home to all parents with a message from The Principal regarding the policy. The students heard announcements every day for a week. They were told, numerous times, that any kid caught sagging was going to go to the office for an administrator to deal with them.
And the consequence was suspension.
Apparently the first two days (when ten of us were out of town at the NMSA convention) it was a bit crazy as they sent quite a number of kids home. Amazingly, only two parents complained. The next day, fewer kids went home although a few of them were the same twits from the day before.
The past week we haven't had any sent home because - gasp! - they're actually dressing better without those hideous sagging pants.
During one of the first mornings when the anti-sagging announcements were airing, one of my kids asked me what the big deal was. I thought this was interesting coming from him as he's probably the one kid in my homeroom I worry about when it comes to involvement with the wrong type of people.
"You ever hear the saying, walks like a duck, talks like a duck, must be a duck?" I ask him.
He nodded, "So what you're saying is looks like a gangbanger, walks like a gangbanger, must be a gangbanger?"
He nods. "Makes sense to me."
Nice to see that sometimes they realize we're not just acting like the fashion police because we're old fuddy-duddies.