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Those Krazy Krips*

I drive my daughter to school every day. It's on my way to work, the timing is good and we get a few minutes alone. It's usually during this "quality" time together - all three minutes of it - when she remembers to tell me something she supposed to tell me (or give me a school notice about) the day before. The subject of today's forgotten memo was the school's dress code. Apparently, the school administration has been quite worried about gang activity that most likely does not exist in my town. An assistant principal and a guidance counselor went around to each class to lecture them on the dangers of choosing the wrong wardrobe. First order of business was the "skank code," as Natalie put it. That means the "skanky girls" can no longer wear mini skirts up to their butt cheeks, pants down to their ass cracks or shirts which reveal newly forming breasts. That's not a problem with my daughter. See, there's only two fashions available right now. Skanky or baggy. Nat is in the baggy club and, while she looks like a slob sometimes, I'm quite comfortable with the fact that she is not trying to look like Britney Spears posing for Maxim. Ok, so the skank code isn't a problem. Oh, but there's more. 1305a.jpe First, guys are no longer allowed to wear "those long shirts like gang members wear." Because, of course, they are a fire hazard. Yes, that's what the students were told. Long shirts are a fire hazard. Nothing to do with gangs. Nope, not at all. However, it was then stated that students are no longer permitted to wear ALL ONE COLOR. I put that in caps in case you thought you were seeing it incorrectly. The teachers specified blue and red (think crips and bloods), but stated that all one-color outfits were off limits. Well, that poses a problem for us. As Natalie obviously inherited her fashion style from me, most of her clothing is black. If for some reason she can't find a black shirt in the morning, she'll wear something else with a black sweatshirt over it. I'll be damned if I'm going to go out and purchase a new wardrobe for my kid just because the school district all of a sudden got this idea about gangs in their heads. Ok, so there are gangs around these parts. There are crips, bloods and the notorious (around these parts) MS-13. But they are very small, concentrated groups located in very specific parts of very specific neighborhoods. There has been no gang activity in my town. There have been no arrests made of middle school kids slicing and dicing rivals from other towns. Sure, some kids burned down the playground at the elementary school and yea, there's some vandalism and graffiti and maybe some drug use. But gangs? No. Yet the administrators and teachers somehow feel the need to go and lecture each homeroom individually on the dangers of wearing red or blue or shirts that are too long. They didn't address the gang issue; they aren't having any kind of assembly or lecture where the kids will learn the dangers of gangs. [I know someone posted something about a similar issue yesterday. I just can't remember who] If they think these students are in danger of becoming boys in the hood, then why just address the gang-wear issue? Isn't that like saying "Oh, we don't care if you are in a gang. Just don't wear your colors in school, ok?" Regardless, Nat will go to school in her usual black ensemble tomorrow. In fact, I'm going to make sure that there isn't a spot of any other color visible on her clothing. I understand dress codes in school. But I don't understand half-addressing a problem that doesn't exist with a short lecture that barely skims the issue and issuing an edict that would not solve the problem even if it existed. And really, who would wear all red, anyhow? That's just gauche.
* Krazy Krips


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That's actually not so bad.
This is what I had to take with me when shopping for Mark this year. We had to make sure we didn't buy any of the things on this list:
Shorts must be of sufficient length to cover the upper half of the thigh (mid thigh)
All shirts must be tucked in with NO EXCEPTIONS and remain tucked in while standing, sitting, bending over, kneeling, etc… Folding over of shirts does NOT meet this requirement. Athletic jerseys and shirts with "slits" must be tucked in during the 2003-2004 school year;
Tank tops, spaghetti straps, tube tops, halters, low cut or see through tops and mini dresses are not permitted;
All articles must be of sufficient length and looseness for appropriate body coverage in positions of standing, walking, running, sitting, leaning, and "arms up", so as not to be revealing;
Pants must be hemmed to shoe length and not "baggy" so as to create a safety concern;
Pants must be worn at an appropriate level at all times;
Offensive, gang, drug, alcohol, tobacco, or items promoting excessive violence/anarchy are not acceptable;
Clothing that is purposely cut up and/or mutilated is not acceptable;
Hats, caps, bandanas and/or sunglasses are not permitted;
Students will wear shoes with sufficient leather or foot cloth covering to allow the foot to fit snugly to the shoe;
NO rubber thongs or flip flops are acceptable;
Fads such as colored hair, excessive make-up, chains used as jewelry, pajamas, or slippers worn to school are NOT permitted in school;
Ear piercing is the only acceptable visible piercings permitted on campus;
Anything that in the opinion of the team leader causes a distraction/disruption to the learning environment will NOT be permitted;
In cases of questionable dress, team leaders will make the final decision. Students may be removed from the learning environment and held in the team area until proper attire is attained. If at a school event, a parent/guardian will be called to pick up the student.

I pity the drama club kids - if they can't wear all black they may be forced to resort to stripey mime shirts. And hey, don't janitors wear those green (or grey or blue) outfits? They wear all one color ALL THE TIME! Ohmigod, the janitors are in a gang! I bet they're selling drugs and knives and sugary junk food to your children! OHMIGOD! They're probably threatening them with filthy mops and rotting apple cores!
This is a travesty. Something must be done.

Goodness, what next? Why not just wear UNIFORMS?! If they're so damned worried, uniforms are the way to go. I'm SO glad that my school does not have ridiculous dress codes like that, even though we do have some illogical rules. People are ridiculous.

That's so wacked.

I mean, c'mon, she's just wearing the younger version of the New York uniform for women - black, grey, or white. Jeez - to think they're coming down on you for starting early!

Yeah, all green must mean the janitors are members..... of the Jets!

The Puerto Ricans grumble: "Fair fight."
But if they start a rumble,
We'll rumble 'em right.

Oh, fer' chrissakes.

Don't these people realize that kids are smart. They will figure a way around this dress code. I went to Catholic school for twelve years: we always got around the regulations. Whether it was by outright revolt or being sneaky, we managed to express ourselves through our clothing. And that's what the issue is here---not gang colors, but the expression of individuals through their clothing. You notice this sort of thing more when everyone's wearing the same uniform, but differ in the accessories.

I went to a high school where there were a goodly amount of rich kids. The only fashion statement we were allowed were our shoes and handbags. Gucci and Louis Vuitton branded bags were the fashion rage at the time. The girls who couldn't afford these bags were shunned, some parent complained, and suddenly Louis bags were outlawed. Well, that didn't stop the problem. Sure there weren't any Louis bags around, but there were Louis key chains, and coin purses---it still existed. Granted this was mainly a socio-economic issue, but it highlights the point that kids will always get around the regulations, one way or another. So, why bother in the first place?

Besides, don't teachers have anything better to do than enforce a dress code? I can't tell you how many of my teachers hated the fact they had to patrol for girls who chose not to wear navy blue or white socks. It was a waste of their time.

Jennie. I wore uniforms in one of my schools. That way ALLLL of the children are forced to wear uncomfortable, very poorly made clothing (that all looks the same). That's the solution to crime.

I can't really comment on whether it made the school better since this was in Mexico I didn't speak Spanish so well at the time.

Simple solution. School Uniforms.

It's not just schools, it's not that new. Some years back, just before I retired, I got forced to go to a Mall in southwest Dallas (Momma wanted to go shopping.) and the security guard tried to make me leave because I had a red bandana in my back pocket. Since I belonged to a special gang, the badge and gun gang, they let me off with a warning.

The red and blue bans have nothing to do with gang activity.

It is discrimination on Mets and Red Sox fans...

This brings to my mind the immortal words of Barney Fife of Mayberry: "That's just the beginning...next thing you know it'll be motorsickles and leather jackets...ya gotta nip it! Nip it in the bud!"

What I want to know is, what qualifies as 'excessive anarchy'?

At my middle school they tried to get us to wear school uniforms at the start of one year. To their amazement nobody wore them. They then laxed the rules to "only wear school colors." Nope, that didn't work either.

Kat, that isn't their entire dress code - it's just a rehash of one rule - the skank code - and the addition of the color rule.

Give or take a few things (kids are allowed to have colored hair in our district) it's pretty much the same as yours.

Tyler, I have no idea what excessive anarchy means either. I did ask the clerk at Sears and they didn't know either. ;) We just don't push the limits too far. We have found we can get away with some band shirts like TOOL but not others like Foo Fighters. Weird eh?

Is black one color? Couldn't it be argued that black is all colors mixed together?

So Regis Philbin and his monochromatic suit, shirt, and tie combos would be off-limits?

This kind of stuff (and the overall decline in the quality of education) is a big reason we've pretty much decided on private school. There's still a year and a half (or 2 1/2 if I get my way) until it all begins though. Thank goodness.

Egads...you could fit THREE teenagers into a single pair o' them cargo pants!!

Oh, come on. Just tell her instead of black pants with a black shirt, now she has to wear onyx pants with a black shirt.

Curt, my daughter - who is about 4'10 and weighs next to nothing - actually wears those pants. It's almost comical.

That reminds me of an old running gag among my friends, one of whom was always (unintentionally) saying things that should have been right out of a porn flick.

"These pants are so big, ANYBODY could get into them."

cue porno jazz

The first response of those in power to any sort of social problem is frequently "give up your rights so we can make you safe." Far more often than not there is no well-reasoned, rational justification for the loss of our rights, but fear is a powerful tool - whether it's fear of the Crips or fear of Al-Qaeda.

The same thick-headedness that leads lazy school administrators to suspend a kid for having an aspirin or a nail clipper in her pocket is responsible for grannies from Omaha being strip-searched at the airport without good cause.

A certain, healthy amount of fear can help keep you alive, but too much fear with too little rational justification just makes you stupid.

Johnny, reminds me of the South Park episode with the kidnappings.

For five years, I had a girlfriend in California. Said girlfriend has a daughter who, at the time, was your daughter's age. On one visit, I was told that she was no longer to wear any red or blue. None. Of course, this is California, who as we all know, invented the Crips and Bloods.

But you, if I remember correctly, live on Long Island. I was under the impression that, other than deranged loners buring a dozen or so hookers in their mother's vegatable gardens, has a crime rate like West Side Story did. That is to say, a lot of singing and dancing and the odd fist fight over Natalie Wood, but that's it.

Other than Joel Rifkin and Colin Furgeson, I've never even heard of any significant crime there.

I guess I'm a bit dumb...
How do you burn down a playground?

Simon, it was one of those new-fangled, safety first, plastic playgrounds.

I guess you could say it melted more than burned.

Ahhh... showing my age. In the playgrounds we used to have when I were a lad , it would have taken an oxyacetylene torch at minimum, or more likely a thermic lance, to burn/melt the equipment.

Same here, Simon. I miss those metal playgrounds. All those bruises and hot metal burns toughened me up.

One gang in Chicago had green and black as their colors. When the schools tried to restrict the wearing of gang sign, it had an interesting impact on Girl Scout recruiting.

Michele, you're missing the obvious, staring you right in the face, loophole.

Black isn't a color. It's an absence or something like that. In fact, all shades of gray are an absence of color. That's what I was always taught.

Now I can just see the entire school walking in monotonous shades of gray in silent protest, looking like vary-shaded prisoners...

Which is probably what the evil bastards want, anyway:)

Sorry to disagree about some of the dress codes but there are reasonable limits. I really don't need to know the color of some pre-18 year-old's thong when she sits down, bends over or raises her hand above waist level. The low cut pants are not a safety hazzard unless you count 16 year old boys walking into lockers while disstracted.