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Bill would require a school dress code -- not for students, but for parents

Do you find this reasonable?

(Pexels photo)

Safe to say, you’ve heard of students having to adhere to a school dress code -- but what about parents?

A lawmaker from Memphis, Tennessee, has been gaining attention nationwide over the past few weeks after proposing a new school dress code for the adults on school grounds.

Rep. Antonio Parkinson said that after talking with school leaders and other constituents, he'd heard enough "horror stories" about the way adults dress -- and behave -- when they visit public schools in Tennessee, so he feels it’s time to assign them their own set of rules.

Think this is a joke? On the contrary, it’s very real. Although the bill is still being drafted, it could go up for a vote as soon as July, and be implemented in the state's schools as early as the fall of 2020, according to USA Today.

Think our state might jump on board next? Although there are no indications that we're leaning that way, you never know.

But here’s the thing: For anyone worried about what he or she looks like in the drop-off line before or after school, fear not. Parkinson’s proposed legislation likely isn’t going to target you -- not even your messy bun or your sweatpants.

Parkinson told today.com that he’s seen people wearing “next to nothing” on school grounds. He’s spotted pieces of clothing adorned with expletives, one woman showing way too much skin, “with some of her body parts hanging out,” he said, and another woman who visited her child’s elementary school wearing actual lingerie, according to the report.

It’s not just women, either. In stories about this issue across the internet, men have been mentioned as well, for tattoos displaying expletives, pants that ride too low and other crass apparel.

It’s the dress code that’s making headlines nationally, but more so, this is about creating a code of conduct for parents and guardians on school grounds, the lawmaker has said. The idea is, schools would write their own rules regarding the issues of parental behavior and dress.

"Whether you’re there to work, whether you’re a teacher, a parent, a vendor, a visitor, a speaker -- anyone who steps on a school campus should be held to a basic minimum expectation of conduct and behavior. That includes how one dresses," Parkinson told today.com.

And remember, drop-off and pick-up times aren't the only instances parents are on school grounds. There are meetings, performances, activities, volunteer opportunities … and these rules would apply to more than just parents, as well: they'd apply to vendors, visitors, speakers and any other adults on campus.

Of course, we feel confident the questions will arise, either in the coming months or over time: How do you write this dress code, or code of conduct? Could it be considered sexist? What about classist?  How would you enforce it?

A lot of gray area lingers, but it's good to know what's brewing in other states, right?


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