The school year is winding down, but while students are headed full-tilt toward a summer free of pencils and books, and parents are scrambling to find a way to keep their kids occupied and out of trouble, schools are tasked with the work of prepping for the next school year. That means staff meetings, teacher development and revising school policies.
For one school system in North Carolina, it looks like a controversial proposal to change the dress code will make sure that we end this school year the same way we began it: with a depressing conversation about policing girls' bodies.
Dress codes, dress code violations and dress code violation justifications seem to come up more and more with each passing year, as parents and students pause to say "wait, wut?" when (mostly) girls are sent home, suspended or exiled from class for having legs that other students can see. The tedious explanation has long been that boners are bad for learning, and leggings are great for boners.
A school in North Carolina is taking that line of thought to a new and even more head-scratching extreme by suggesting that the proposed ban on leggings and skinny jeans is meant to be a protective measure against bullying against "bigger girls."
You read that right. This masterpiece of concern-trolling has reached maximum absurdity on Twitter, where the New Hanover County School Board asked people for their input on the new policy by hashtagging their comments with #policy8520. Wise choice, New Hanover. Wise choice indeed.
Unfortunately for them, instead of getting tons of comments that end with a #thanks or #DoingTheLordsWork, they're getting more and more people who are wondering why, when we're talking about disruption in class, it's the clothing and not the disruptive jerks who are getting the attention.
A lot of this centers around comments from the school board's vice chair Jeannette Nichols, implying that skinny jeans are on the chopping block because "bigger girls" are being bullied for wearing tight clothing. Ms. Nichols: From chubby girls everywhere, trust us when we say that our bullies don't require us to wear muumuus to get a good jab in.
This roundabout "solution" to bullying again puts the onus on the person being bullied and not their jerky peers to end it, which is stupid and kind of a shitty precedent to set and almost certainly ineffective. Add that to the already limited options for clothing in the juniors department at any store in America right now, and you've got another dress code that unfairly targets girls. Please, try and contain your shock.
And the thing is, everyone seems to get it except the school board:
If you want me to follow the dress code, then you have to replace all my skinny jeans and leggings. My family can't afford to. #policy8520— ❁Lily Grace❁ (@Blood_Banditz) May 18, 2016
But honestly, this dude here manages to say what we've all been shouting for years:
Bullying is a problem in schools. It always has been, sadly, but it's possible it doesn't always need to be. Of course, in order to end it, you'd have to address it directly instead of wasting time wringing your hands over things like the ways jeans fit.
If clothing were the issue and banning it could solve the problem, we could expect that schools with uniform policies are happy rainbow lands where "bigger" girls and girls with long legs and girls with huge boobs and girls with other body types could exist in perfect harmony with their peers — male and female alike — without fear of harassment.
But something tells us that's not the way reality works. So it looks like we'll all just have to try harder.
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