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Gender Bias in Middle School??

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Charles Orlando: I dropped my kids off at school this morning, and was greeted with a call from the school office no more than three minutes later. The woman on the other end of the line was irritated and annoyed ... with ME.

Girls Confronting Boys

"Mr. Orlando? I have Jordan [my 11-year-old daughter] in the office here. She is wearing clothing that is inappropriate for school. I'll need you to pick her up and have her change before returning to the campus."

Confused, I hung a U-turn, my mind whirring, trying to remember what she had been wearing that morning. Did I miss something and she threw her modesty to the wind, midriff exposed for the entire fifth grade class to see? Jordan is feisty ... but most assuredly not trying to be "sexy." By the time I reached the school, I'd remembered that she had on a normal (read: mid-thigh) pair of shorts, and a short-sleeved shirt that covered her torso completely.

I pulled into the parking lot, and was greeted with kids in fifth through eight grade making their way into school. As I approached the office, I noticed girls in "P.E. uniforms" (but the shorts looked like Daisy Dukes to me), and boys wearing the style du jour -- athletic gear or baggy clothing ... either of which were hanging so low, their underwear (not boxers -- briefs) were in full view of anyone behind them.

I entered the office, and there sat my little girl ... confused as to why she wasn't allowed in school. Ahead of me in line was an eighth grade girl asking why SHE was being sent home for a bra strap showing (one inch of which was visible outside her tank top). After I reached the woman behind the counter, I learned that Jordan's shorts were "1/2 an inch too high on her legs." Rather than debate the hypocrisy I had just witnessed, I signed Jordan out and left.

What gives? Why are we allowing boys to dress like slobs, underwear showing, referring to girls as "bitches" (as I heard at least twice when walking up to the office), while girls must toe the line, measure their shorts with a microscope, and be wary of a rogue bra strap?

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10 comments so far | Post a comment now
Kristen June 1, 2009, 7:50 AM

This is why we homeschool! Gosh I find myself saying that a lot.
This is ridiculous. Why not try uniforms for public schools then maybe you wouldn’t have so much of this crap. I do have to say I agree about the boys and showing there underwear, good grief, it’s disgusting.

Cheri June 1, 2009, 9:22 AM

OMG. I am so sorry you had to go through this really! This is totally ridiculous! 1/2 inch? I understand that their are rules to follow but 1/2 inch is ridiculous! Why don’t school officials concentrate on something like making sure their students graduate from school and know how to “read” a book when they do! I graduated in 1994 (yes,im showing my age here) but about half my graduating class was damn near illiterate! I shudder to think of today’s youth! Back then, technology was NOT EVEN CLOSE to what it is now!

Dayna June 1, 2009, 11:55 AM

I agree it is bogus. It goes both ways though, depending o the school, and the sensibility of whoever is in charge that day. My son (13) wore a polo and dress slacks I purchased from the local Old Navy. It had read white and blue stripes and a little patch on the chest that had a number ‘55’ on it. He was sent home because they felt the patch promoted gang relations. I was flabbergasted. GANG relations? Gangs dig Old Navy polos? I asked for full disclosure on clothing restrictions, which the school said they could not provide as they did not have one, it was ore of a ‘case-by-case’ basis. We had just moved back from living in the UK, my son looked more prep school than anything else. Yet, the girls were walking around in skirts so short they should be arrested, belly shirts, and the other boys had low slung jeans showing off their backsides.

And don’t even get me started on the school uniforms. it’s not just your school, unfortunately, nor is it just girls. It’s whoever gets their knickers in a twist that morning, I think, and we’re all subject to it. So much for the adults being cool and rational, right?

Anonymous June 1, 2009, 12:45 PM

Some schools have ridiculous dress codes. My stepson’s middle school does not allow plaid or striped shorts. Only solid colors…black, navy, khaki or brown. No flashy unraveling hems on pants (even those that happen after washing), no logos of any kind on the camo…shirts tucked in at all times WITH A BELT. And this is a public school. Makes no sense to me.

RachelAZ June 1, 2009, 3:02 PM

Schools are going soooo nuts with dress codes, it’s truly ridiculous. You should bring your concerns about it to the principal!

Heather June 2, 2009, 10:47 AM

Maybe if the schools would focus more on trying to get the kids to learn instead of how the kids are dressed we would have less troublemakers and illiterate kids out there. My son was sent home because he was wearing a baggy pair of pants, he was wearing a belt too but apparently it’s now a teacher’s place to notice a lack of underwear! I was shocked and reported the teacher. He is a good kid who doesn’t get in trouble and gets good grades, he wasn’t bothering anyone just pulling up his pants. People need to get over this clothing thing. Rediculous.

Tina T June 5, 2009, 8:03 PM

I agree that the dresscode should be equal for girls and for boys, but it sounds like it is way too lax for both. As someone who has lived all over the country, I can assure you that there are areas where public school have had to adopt uniforms because of the large number of dress code violations.

I strongly believe that it creates a better learning environment when kids are dressed appropriately for school rather than dressed for a day at the beach.

MerrieWay July 4, 2009, 4:49 PM

MerrieWay suggests you write a letter to the schools principal and ask for a warning instead of a leave school reprimand.
Or, ask what is the concern before you leave for the school - giving you a chance to bring the appropriate attire with you.
A simple solution to save your daughter’s embarrassment and from missing school for a day.
Teaching and learing is the priorty, isn’t it?

Teacher July 10, 2009, 11:43 PM

I am glad to hear that many of you want schools to focus on learning. As a middle school teacher for 20 years, I can tell you that dress code violations interfere with learning. You say that a 1/2 inch too short is no big deal. The next kid says an inch is close enough then 2 inches etc. There has to be specific criteria. We have bells so students will know if they are tardy. We don’t say that 2 seconds late is close enough then the next kids says 5 seconds late is close enough. There are girls out there wearing short shorts and showing lots of cleavage. The boys are low riding with their boxers hanging out. These are distractions that should not be taking place. Students learn more when they are in a school that enforces their rules. If parents don’t like the rules, they should find a new school or teach them at home and let them wear whatever they want.

golf schools November 1, 2010, 4:43 AM

Gracias por sus comentarios perspicaces. Espero visitar su sitio site en breve.

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