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School dress code rebels of today are simply clueless

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POSTED August 11, 2010 2:30 a.m.
You can wear short shorts on a job interview and get a job so why can’t you wear the same clothing to school.

So goes the logic of a Ripon High junior who protested to the school board this week after she was sent home for wearing short shorts.

The school board sat emotionless as the girl went through her spiel at the board meeting while wearing the clothing in question.

Sometimes incredibly dense pronouncements are best not to try and counter with logic.

The MTV generation was a bit risqué in pushing the limits of dress codes but those who come of age in a time of sex-texting and rap vulgarity that is shamelessly passed off as music are clueless.

That doesn’t mean they are stupid or without moral compass. It’s just that they are, well, clueless.

They’ve grown up being bombarded on TV, in magazines, and in the general public with images that would have been scandalous even 10 years ago. George Carlin’s ears would burn today given the wanton tossing of profanities and derogatory terms to describe women. Not because they are worse than the infamous seven words you once were not supposed to utter on the air but because the use has become so commonplace it has cheapened the shock value that once went hand-in-hand with the use of profane and vulgar language.

Much has been written about how America’s problems are generations of being uptight compared to their European counterparts. Vulgarity was part of the Victorian Age. It just wasn’t pranced around at high noon for all to hear and see.

So how are extremely short shorts inappropriate or in the realm of vulgarity in a high school campus setting?

Anyone who is – or has been – a teen-ager can answer that question. They are a distraction to the opposite gender. And, believe it or not, distractions aren’t something that should be allowed in classrooms given what’s at stake. School isn’t about making fashion statements. It is about learning.

Pointing out the obvious usually triggers responses that you’re either a prude or a dirty old man.

Boys today, you will be told, aren’t like that. It is amazing how the logic of a teen can defy the laws of nature that have been tens of thousands of years in the making for the human race.

There are some who would argue schools are too relaxed in their dress codes.

That simply is not the case. Except for safety reasons, who cares how far a boy’s hair falls? There was a time when counselors took rulers to measure how far hair came down on the back of the neck. It was also when simple white T-shirts – let alone those that are billboards for everything under the sun – were a no-no and dresses or skirts with blouses were mandatory for girls.

On the other hand, it is reasonable to expect certain parts of one’s flesh to be covered. School isn’t a rave club.

School dress codes aren’t quaint leftovers from a prehistoric age when prudes ruled the earth.

The reason they exist is for the exact reason why the girl probably wants to wear short shorts to school which is to get attention. More precisely, it is probably get the attention of the opposite gender. Nothing wrong with that, but school time isn’t supposed to take on characteristics of the next episode of “Jersey Shore” or the MTV show pushing the limits du jour.

As far as dress codes that ban the wearing of baseball caps and certain colors, there was a time when you didn’t have to worry about your fashion choices for school clothing eliciting a beating, knifing or shooting.

It would have been interesting, though, to hear what type of job the short shorts girl applied for and whether it was one that required a formal education complete with certain expectations of dress. Those jobs tend to be full-time and pay a bit better than minimum wage which is one of the reasons why you might want to spend more time worrying about learning at school than testing the limits of dress codes.

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