Tactfully handling dress code?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by gopatriots18, Jan 25, 2018.

  1. gopatriots18

    gopatriots18 Rookie

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    I’m a first year male teacher looking for input on tactfully handling female student dress code violations. All homeroom teachers at my private school are expected to resolve dress code problems before students are sent to first period. I’ve had two recent incidents where I was cited for failing to enforce dress code standards in my homeroom.

    Both incidents are similar in that I failed to address female students coming to homeroom, then going to first period, still wearing sweatpants under their uniform skirts. While technically our student handbook forbids students arriving to school with sweatpants under skirts, our principal permits it as long as the sweatpants are removed before homeroom – generally when students first go to their lockers, because our winter climate has been bone chilling.

    My reluctance to enforce the policy stems primarily from embarrassment, as a male authoritative figure, in having to instruct any high school aged female to “remove her sweatpants” before she can leave my homeroom. But on the other hand, I cannot allow myself to get anymore administrative citations. My inexperience makes me dread having to enforce dress code rules under these circumstances.
     
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  3. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    Just point and say dress code and hand them whatever slip you have to. Don’t elaborate lol.

    I wouldn’t want to be in that position either. Did the principal not understand your position on the matter or did you fail to tell them why you didn’t?
     
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  4. gopatriots18

    gopatriots18 Rookie

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    My hesitation to explain my position to our female principal stems from the same sense of embarrassment I have in confronting the students. I feel like just the act of expressing my underlying concerns will cause my principal to view me negatively.
     
  5. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Cohort

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    Honestly, be direct and enforce the expectations.

    In the high schools of my district, students are sent home for the day if the dress code is not complied with more than twice. That is all I really know, as far as the updated HS dress code goes.
    I do know that uniforms are not required.
     
  6. Belch

    Belch Companion

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    AlwaysAttend has the right idea. Make it as impersonal as possible. You're not a guy telling a young girl to take her pants off. You're a teacher enforcing a dress code.
     
  7. JimG

    JimG Comrade

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    As a young male teacher, you are d@mned if you do and d@mned if you don’t. It sucks that you are put in that position.

    Remind the class as a whole, without singling anybody out, of the expectation. If it is still a problem, see if you can simply email the principal and have her deal with the female student’s attire.
     
  8. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Generally, male teachers should pass off the duty to a woman for girls, and visa versa.. Sadly, dress code often falls to the female teachers, and I have made peace with that over time. I have no problem pointing out infractions in boys and girls, and if you've read some of my posts about being consistent about enforcing infractions across the board, you know that it isn't about "Gotcha!" and more about it is a rule that the school wants me to enforce - period. In your case, their violation of the dress code is showing up on your record, so either find a way to address the issue yourself, or strike a deal with a female teacher. I don't think that you will have difficult time having finding a female teacher to do this for you if you reciprocate by calling out the males with pants drooping and showing off their underwear.

    Either way, make a note that the student in question corrected the DVC, with the time, because students have been known to fix the problem, only to recreate the DCV upon leaving your classroom. Most schools would frown on a picture, but having a second teacher observing the behavior would/should put the blame on the student instead of the teacher. Best of luck!
     
  9. Belch

    Belch Companion

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    No! You're a teacher with a responsibility, and gender is not an issue. Even evoking gender is a really sexist way of looking at this.

    It's just a dress code, and any teacher can enforce it.
     
  10. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    "Make sure you are following the dress code, please."
     
  11. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Simple and sweet. If that doesn't get their attention, make a check list of possible infractions listed in the handbook and check off what they broke?
     
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  12. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    This was my idea also.
     
  13. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Flitter, you could even make slips with the snippet from the handbook and just circle or highlight the infraction.
     
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  14. gopatriots18

    gopatriots18 Rookie

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    On Friday I raised my concerns with our principal and she viewed my hesitation to enforce the dress code entirely as my lack of self-confidence as a new teacher. She thinks students sense it, and they test the limit of what they feel they can get away with. She said to have no fear in doing my job carrying out school policies.

    So this morning I handed out copies of the dress code and made a general announcement that while today I’m only issuing written warnings, starting tomorrow I’ll be enforcing the dress code by writing detention referrals.

    I issued written warnings to two students for sweatpants and instructed them to be removed on the spot. Additionally, utilizing an archaic measurement procedure set forth in the handbook, I issued warnings to four students for skirt hemlines exceeding three inches above the knee while kneeling.

    After speaking with my principal and reading forum feedback, I realized I’ll never earn respect as long as I continue to be Mr. Pushover.
     
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  15. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    Yea, im never taking out a ruler and measuring a skirt. I’d rather they think I’m a pushover. I’m glad you’re feeling more confident though.
     
  16. gopatriots18

    gopatriots18 Rookie

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    It’s not so much newfound confidence; it’s more fear of getting additional reprimands. After my talk with our principal, I’m taking her at her word to not hesitate in expecting accountability. I feel like I’m on the hook for any future instances of my homeroom students getting tagged for dress code after passing through my homeroom in the mornings.
     
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  17. RussianBlueMommy

    RussianBlueMommy Comrade

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    I fail to see why gender has to do with it. I have called more than one boy out for having underwear showing. Something along the lines of "Hey Man, ya gotta pull your pants up, nobody wants to see ya underpants". I just keep it chill and light, so to speak.
     
  18. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    It couldn’t be more different societally speaking for a male and female teacher.
     
  19. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    This is another thread that makes me so glad I'm at the elementary level!
     
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  20. RussianBlueMommy

    RussianBlueMommy Comrade

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    Yeah I see that :/
    Unfortunately, men who teach get the raw deal sometimes.
     
  21. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    I don’t see it as a raw deal. It just is what is is.
     
  22. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    That's why I use this phrase as my "go-to"; I'm not calling attention to what I may be noticing. Especially at the high school level, they know exactly what infraction they are committing, you don't need to tell them if you are nervous about being accused of saying something inappropriate.
     
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  23. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    The problem was the principal wanted individuals written up according to the OP.
     
  24. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I once worked with a man who was accused by a parent of inappropriate behavior towards her daughter. The parent felt that because the teacher asked the student to adjust her clothing to cover up her visible undergarments, it meant that the teacher was "checking out" the student. It turned into a big to-do, with the parent, teacher, and admin at odds. It was a mess. It was ultimately resolved, but not before a lot of unpleasantness.

    While I don't think it should be this way, I would encourage male teachers to tread carefully when it comes to dress code. If necessary, ask a female colleague to help address the issue if it's a sensitive one.
     
  25. geoteacher

    geoteacher Habitué

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    It may not be fair, but this is definitely a delicate balance for male teachers. The men on my wing will always call in a female teacher to deal with dress code violations among the female student population.
     
  26. gopatriots18

    gopatriots18 Rookie

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    My principal’s philosophy is to resolve everything that can possibly be resolved in homeroom before sending students to first period.

    Ultimately, she firmly told me to enforce the policy – don’t hesitate or the students will not respect me as a new teacher. I also sensed an unspoken implication that she will not respect me if I continue to get tagged for failing to enforce policies.

    In attempting to be tactful, I feel hamstrung because the relevant handbook rules specifically say:

    --“Students are expected to arrive on campus wearing proper uniform attire, and remain in uniform until they are off campus at the end of the school day.”

    --“Students shall report to assigned homerooms by the 7:35 AM warning bell. During homeroom all hallways, bathrooms, and locker areas shall remain clear until the first period bell, except in an emergency.”

    --“Homeroom teachers shall check and ensure uniform compliance at the start of each day.”

    --“Students are expected to fully cooperate during uniform compliance checks, and shall remedy violations immediately upon request.

    --“Sweatpants, pajama pants, leggings, or any other style of pants are not permitted underneath the uniform skirt.”

    To enforce the spirit and the letter of these rules it’s become clear I’m expected to ensure sweatpants are removed while still in homeroom, otherwise I’ll get administratively cited again.

    Here are the relevant skirt length rules (probably written forty years ago):

    --“Skirts shall not be rolled around the waist.”

    --“Skirts shall be no shorter than 3 inches above the floor when kneeling.”

    The archaic protocol for taking a measurement is to request the student kneel on the floor, straighten her back and look straight ahead. Three ruler measurements are to be taken – one on each side, and one on the back of the skirt. If any one of those measurements exceeds three inches above the floor, there’s an infraction punishable by detention. If the skirt is rolled at the waist, the student is expected to unroll it while in homeroom. If the length cannot be corrected, the student is to be sent to the office at the first period bell and parents will be called.

    A female colleague told me that, practically speaking, skirt length doesn’t receive much overall enforcement because faculty dislike administering the kneeling measurement test even when hemlines are noticeably higher on the thigh. However, her advice was to follow our principal’s guidance as I establish my credibility, but to be extra careful as a male in doing everything by the book.
     
  27. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    Yea, you’d think in todays days in age they’d like girls to cover up. If some admin told me to make a teenage girl kneel on the floor so I could measure her skirt, i’d tell them they were nuts. Just do the pants check and leave it at that.

    Oh, and look for a new job.
     
  28. gopatriots18

    gopatriots18 Rookie

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    We are an all girls school. No pants option here - traditional plaid uniform skirts only.
     
  29. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    How out of touch. Let them wear pants.

    In gym class back in the day, they used to make high school kids swim naked. Obviously someone realized that was inappropriate and that policy changed.
     
  30. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    The word “gymnasium” literally means “a place of nakedness”. Do with that as you will.
     
  31. gopatriots18

    gopatriots18 Rookie

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    Agreed. I don’t understand why parents don’t press for a pants option, considering the region we are in. I just looked at tomorrow morning's forecast and there’s going to be wind chill in the mid 20’s – freezing!
     
  32. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    Is this a religious schools?
     

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