If you’re familiar with the hell that is the typical school morning drop-off, then you know that most parents are just trying to survive it. Most of us just want to make it through that dreaded car line, drop off our rugrats without dropping any major F-bombs at the other crappy parent drivers, and get on with our day, amirite?
Let’s face it – moms don’t always have time to put themselves totally together in the mornings
Now as a mom who spends the majority of my early morning yelling at kids to find their shoes-gloves-lunch bags-shoes-coats-SHOES (why are the goddamn shoes always missing??) before I’ve even taken more than three sips of my once hot coffee, I can tell you that my style of dress for the school drop-off resembles something akin to “panhandler chic”.
It’s typically pajamas. Or yoga pants. Or the ripped tank top I wore to bed… for the past two days. Maybe three. Because it’s all.about.survival.
If your morning outfit is anything like mine, then you’ll be really glad you don’t live near Memphis, Tennessee, right about now.
Because a new bill has been proposed suggesting that local TN schools enforce a dress & behavioral code… for the parents.
Are you frigging kidding me??
State Representative Antonio Parkinson has recently proposed a bill that dictates how parents are permitted to dress and behave while on school grounds.
Remember the days when your Mom would take one look at your outfit and say, “You’re not going out in that!”?
Well, now your kids’ school can do the same damn thing, apparently. Those sweet purple polka-dot pajama bottoms you rocked every morning of last year’s drop-off? Not acceptable. How about your favorite sweatpants with “Juicy” across the ass? Nope, not ok now, either.
Remember how you couldn’t wait to be a grownup so that you could finally do whatever you want? Well, there are other people that are more adult-ier than you apparently, that can still boss you around in terms of what you wear and say.
Where did this lunacy come from, you ask?
As Antonio Jackson explained when interviewed for the Today Show, his idea for a parental dress code stemmed from a meme. Yes, a MEME. Jackson saw a meme online that joked about parents dressing in two layers of pajamas when picking up their kids from school on cold days.
The meme really chapped Jackson’s ass, because upon discussing it with other district personnel:
I then got on the phone with some of the leaders in my district and learned how big of a problem it really was.
OK, so what exactly was the problem?
According to local school officials, some parents were showing up at school either dressed inappropriately and/or behaving in a belligerent manner.
(For the record, I’d describe my mood every single morning as “belligerent”, so we’re already off to a concerning start here, school. And based on the driving of my fellow parents, most of them are feeling rather “belligerent” too.)
As Parkinson mentioned to Today, one of the worst offenders was “a mother who visited her child’s elementary school in lingerie”.
So thanks, Lingerie Lady, for potentially ruining it for the rest of us. This is why we can’t have nice things like pajamas or bathrobes at school drop-off.
And then there’s this example from Parkinson:
A principal I talked to told me a lady came into the office with her sleepwear on with some of her body parts hanging out. You got children coming down the hall in a line and they can possibly see this.
Ok, agreed. No young kid should have to see boobage in school. Avoiding a big ‘ole nip-slip in the kindergarten hallway is understandable.
But think about that for a minute. While it may make sense to discourage parents from showing up in clothing that exposes actual private body parts (reasonable), what if the school district decides that dyed hair is “inappropriate” (unreasonable)?
Or what if they feel your jeans are hanging too low off your butt- are you risking being reprimanded by a school official? Or maybe jeans with ripped knees will be considered “sloppy” for kids- do I have to buy new jeans in order to step onto school grounds to pick up my kids?
Although the code is eventually expected to also address parent behavior while on school campuses, most of the current attention is on parental appearance.
As Executive Director of Professional Educators of Tennessee J.C. Bowman states when interviewed by USA Today, this code has the potential to alienate parents who would otherwise be actively engaged in their child’s school:
If you start putting in dress codes you’re gonna think, particularly low-income people, may feel like that they’re not dressed well enough to go to the classroom. They don’t want to embarrass their kids.
Right. Let’s discourage parents even more from participating in the PTA or school bake sales because they dress *gasp* however THEY want to dress.
As local parent Cecilia Batson pointed out to Today:
If the kid is fed and cared for and loved and taken care of, who cares how their parents dress?
BOOM. Well said, Cecilia.
Parents have enough to worry about each day without having to stress over selecting a style of dress that their kids’ school decides is appropriate.
If I want to dress like I just rolled out of bed (because, let’s face it, I probably did just roll out of bed), that’s MY choice. Or yours.
Not the school’s choice, because last time I checked, we’re all adults capable of making our own decisions about how we like to dress. Bed hair, don’t care- we’re too cool for school. At least these schools, apparently.
Schools need to worry about bigger picture things not how pretty our parents are and the Emily Post guide to drop off/pick up. Something like this deflects from real issues like “bullying” “special needs “ lack of equipment or even providing a well rounded education that includes music, art and p.e.!
Memphis lawmakers should mind their own business!