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Teachers Get Schooled in Fashion
August 18, 2013 - Joselyn King
It's back to school time in many school districts, and some teachers in Lewis County, W.Va. are being asked to dress more professionally when they return to their classrooms this year.
This summer the Lewis County Board of Education passed a ban on teachers wearing jeans, shorts and short skirts in the classroom. (No mention of a prohibition on the dreaded flip-flop.)
State teachers unions aren't happy about the dictum as they believe the move is an infringement on the rights of teachers to dress the way they want -- their personal fashion freedom.
At a time when students probably should be subject to more stringent dress codes, is it really too much to ask that teachers dress appropriately and show students the proper way to conduct themselves on the job? Personal presentation often is linked with professional achievement.
I suspect the issue here is that most teachers do dress appropriately for the classroom, and they consider it an insult for school administration to insinuate they don't.
But there are always the exceptions. I imagine there is a young teacher -- somewhere -- in a short skirt sitting on the floor with some kindergarten students. And in a high school, there are male students appreciating an attractive teacher with a similar short skirt, and being distracted.
And shorts in the classroom? Really? Can't see where that ever would be appropriate.
Jeans are a little more difficult to criticize. I mean, if they are dark and well-tailored jeans, and worn with a nice shirt, they probably would be preferable for that teacher with the very young students.
Do male teachers need to wear ties? I often hear from male professionals of how hot and uncomfortable it is to wear a tie and heavy clothing on a hot day, when their female colleagues don't have that burden.
So, can men still look professional when not wearing a tie and dress shirt? Can a collared polo and dress pants suffice? Probably. But when you give people a fashion inch, too often they want to walk the next mile in flip flops and sweat pants.
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