Easly High, home of the Scarlet Letters.
August 26, 2002 11:43 AM   Subscribe

Easly High, home of the Scarlet Letters. Students violating the dress code of the South Carolina high school will now be forced to change into t-shirts bearing the phrases "Dress for Success" on the front and "Today I did not meet the dress code policy for proper attire" on the back. Boy, it's a good thing they're putting them on teenagers, because they would never think of creative ways to violate this idea in... what, about thirty seconds? Discuss your ideas for the new fashion trend: custom punishment signs!
posted by XQUZYPHYR (34 comments total)
"I made a statement against the totalitarian rulings of this school and all I got was this lousy t-shirt."

Sorry I got nothing.
posted by spungfoo at 11:46 AM on August 26, 2002

"Oh no, Principal Garrison! Someone wrote filthy comments about your policy on the back of the shirt! Gosh, that's like fifteen times today... man, how is THIS happening?"

"Hmm... this shirt goes great with my hot pants!"

"I wonder... yeah... TYE DYE!"

"Wow, Cindy! I'm sure glad the only made the shirts in small!"

And spungfoo, that's friggin hysterical.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:47 AM on August 26, 2002

What? No sandwich boards?! Just think of the product placement opportunties for cash-strapped public schools!

"Today I did not meet the dress code policy for proper attire. I shoulda gone to The Gap!"
posted by tittergrrl at 11:48 AM on August 26, 2002

How long until it becomes the fashion statement? At the high school I attended, someone would have gotten the shirt and proudly worn it around... maybe even make their own.
posted by psychotic_venom at 11:48 AM on August 26, 2002

All your suggestions are great for the kids that don't give a shit anyway, but I shudder for the rest. (I would have been one of the "rest.") Just one more bar in the prison called School.
posted by gordian knot at 11:52 AM on August 26, 2002

Psychotic_venom is right... where I went to high school, people would have started intentionally breaking the dress code just to wear the t-shirt as a joke or to be defiant. In fact, maybe I'll print one up myself just for kicks.
posted by Xkot at 11:54 AM on August 26, 2002

they should hire katie sierra to design the shirts.
posted by serafinapekkala at 11:55 AM on August 26, 2002

Is the t-shirt part of the acceptable dress code? If not, what happens if you make your own and wear it to school? Do they make you wear theirs instead?
posted by turaho at 11:55 AM on August 26, 2002

You have to wonder what dress codes have to do with learning. And if they do this to kids...when do they get to us. I'd have to wear a "Today I did not meet the front lawn/vote right/think right policy for proper citizenship"
"We teach by what we accept"
posted by riley370 at 11:56 AM on August 26, 2002

One parent, Randy Newman, said, "I think the T-shirt is good if they make the kids wear them who need to wear them."

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Randy Newman -- famous recording artist / Oscar winner and avid proponent of circular reasoning.
posted by pardonyou? at 11:56 AM on August 26, 2002

There has got to be a "Frankie says..." joke in here somewhere.
posted by soundofsuburbia at 11:58 AM on August 26, 2002

Wear the t-shirt and nothing else.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:59 AM on August 26, 2002

I'm going to wear a "Subvert the Dominant Paradigm" shirt on the first day of 9th grade, and I'm proud of it.
posted by caustic at 12:12 PM on August 26, 2002

One could make his or her own, only vary the words slightly ala this, to make: "Today I did not meet the bar code policy for proper assimilation"...
posted by Ms.JaneDoe at 12:23 PM on August 26, 2002

"You have to wonder what dress codes have to do with learning"

Absolutely nothing... especially when my pubescent eyes are locked in on Cindy's cleavage, the tender bit of ass-cheek slipping out the bottom of her Daisy Dukes, and the tribal tattoo on the small of her back... totally visible because her belly shirt covers little more than her bra-less and pert little chest.

{deep breath}
posted by Witty at 12:24 PM on August 26, 2002

I'm going to wear a "Subvert the Dominant Paradigm" shirt on the first day of 9th grade, and I'm proud of it.

**sound of Caustic being panced and dragged around the track**
posted by dr_dank at 12:24 PM on August 26, 2002

Hey! Hey! Hey! Let's cut the principal just a little slack, here, ok? I've been to Easley. The place is a fashion catastrophe. Those t-shirts should be passed out at the city limits.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:25 PM on August 26, 2002


the argument for dress codes at schools actually has lots of parts to it.

for instance, many of the parochial schools around here have uniforms in part to help hide the income disparity amongst the students. the idea is that they'll be less petty behavior from the students which distracts from learning if kids don't get to show off their versace t-shirts and/or that the kids will be less self-conscious if they can't afford expensive clothes and that all kids will be better able to focus on class. this is why some dress codes go so far as to specify what types of jewelry and shoes students can wear.

around here, dress codes also make it harder for kids to display gang affiliations. not impossible, but harder.

dress codes also make it slightly harder for kids to get distracted by hormone rushes (theoretically at least).

there's also the school of thought that if you dress kids in "serious" clothes, rather than "party" clothes, you put them in the right frame of mind for school.

it seems that most of the arguments boil down to making school more about school and less about all that other garbage that teenagers think about, which isn't such a bad idea. keeping kids focused on school while they are at school might just help them. for one thing, it might instill in them an idea that some behaviors aren't appropiate at all times in all places.

this t-shirt idea, though, seems pretty goofy. like psychotic_venom said. . .
posted by crush-onastick at 12:26 PM on August 26, 2002

... (is kidding, of course).
posted by octobersurprise at 12:28 PM on August 26, 2002

octobersurprise- i've been to easley, too. my cousins used to live there, and go to that high school. trust me, you speak the truth.
posted by oog at 12:41 PM on August 26, 2002

Perhaps we need T-shirts regarding peoples' personal habits?

"Please. Come closer. Inhale deeply."

posted by NedKoppel at 12:41 PM on August 26, 2002

crush-onastick, dress codes and uniforms are seriously different things. A uniform might hide income disparity and fashion-consciousness and consumerism etc, but a dress code only enhances it - dress codes mean people have to wear more expensive clothes. The school I was at for 8th & 9th grade had a dress code for girls of long skirt, collar shirt, blazer, socks, nice shoes. My family could probably have paid for "cool" jeans but they could not afford $200 blazers. My cheap secondhand / Marshall's clothes stood out dramatically from the designer / preppy clothes. And clothes were taken seriously; the girls all traded and borrowed each other's laura ashley etc; those of us without were automatically on the fringe.

I got sent to the dean for dress code violations a lot. I can actually imagine being quite embarrassed to have to wear a T-shirt like that in the context of my experience in 8th grade, even though now it seems like a fun way to be defiant etc. I think it would depend hugely on the atmosphere of the school and whether kids in general supported the dress code (loved their laura ashley, liked feeling grown up in a tie, alex p. keaton style, etc) or defied it. God I hated that school.
posted by mdn at 12:41 PM on August 26, 2002

I would instantly buy one of those t-shirts, and I gotta say, I'm pretty far outside what you'd call the target demographic.

Hmm. Yes. Yessss.

I am suddenly deliciously full of evil rebellion-packaging capitalist urges.
posted by furiousthought at 12:46 PM on August 26, 2002

you may have a point about dress codes highlighting income disparity (i'm not sure i agree, but i'm not going to argue it; my 8th/9th grade also had a code, not a uniform, and a huge income disparity among sudents and yours was not my experience at all), but that's still only *part* of the argument in favor of dess codes.

posted by crush-onastick at 12:49 PM on August 26, 2002

RE: impact of uniforms on hormonal surging

Uniforms might serve to make teenage boys somewhat dorkier-looking, but on girls, lookout. Kilts, hell. I'll take the one in the blue jumpsuit, wearing the Chastity League sash... ;)

(BTW: Hi Crush!)
posted by atavistech at 12:56 PM on August 26, 2002

On second reading, that last post of mine was completely improper and should be disregarded. I am, after all, a man who completely respects women; just ask my wife. Well go on, ask her!
posted by atavistech at 1:00 PM on August 26, 2002

yeah, crush, I don't think uniforms get in the way of hormonal surges. The only argument that holds any water is the "serious clothes make them more serious" thing, which I can't really argue one way or another. I was no different a student at my dress code school vs. my high school which might not have allowed certain things (torn or overly revealing, e.g., though honestly I don't remember if I had to save my fave ripped jeans for the weekends or not) but which had no serious dress code. But maybe it has an impact on some.

You say you had a dress code and wide income disparity and there was no clothing snobbery. I find that surprising, but perhaps that's more an issue among girls. Still, you wouldn't argue it reduced attention to income disparity, even if it didn't increase it, right?
posted by mdn at 2:37 PM on August 26, 2002

no, i wouldn't argue that it reduced it. it simply didn't increase it. of course, our code was not as resrictive as the one you describe, which may have had something to do with it.

(for the record, i am a girl. and i was seriously annoyed every time the cheerleaders got to wear their uniforms to school because i wasn't allowed to wear my oh-so-fashionable-jeans-skirt that was above the knee, but they could wear their cheerleader skirts which barely covered their asses)
posted by crush-onastick at 2:57 PM on August 26, 2002

I still am amused by the fact that "Certified Muff Diver" t-shirts were just fine at my high school, but someone's t-shirt from work which happened to have a small Budweiser logo on the back was not. And sunglasses were forbidden (in Florida).
posted by Foosnark at 3:05 PM on August 26, 2002

I had a teacher in 6th grade who made kids wear signs as punishments. Big red A's (her initial, of course) with "I have offended Ms. Atherly. I will not do it again." Once, she made a Q-shaped sign that said "Ms. Atherly is the Queen and I am not." I think there was once an S for stupid, but I don't remember what the sign said.

This, by comparison, is much less damaging.

But still rather silly, not to mention ineffective.
posted by katieinshoes at 3:35 PM on August 26, 2002

Oh man. I preferred my school uniform to the days when I had to wear my cheerleading uniform. At least the stupid kilt and blazer helped keep my butt warm.
posted by swerve at 4:39 PM on August 26, 2002

Once, she made a Q-shaped sign that said "Ms. Atherly is the Queen and I am not." I think there was once an S for stupid, but I don't remember what the sign said.

I am not Mrs. Atherly for I do not have control Issues

I am always amazed by some of the people who are given teaching certificates.
posted by nathan_teske at 1:19 AM on August 27, 2002

Last-second observation: I went to a Catholic girls' high school for all of one year. That was enough to learn that even with a uniform, kids will rank each other by what they wear. It just becomes more subtle--what kind of chain are you wearing around your neck? What kind of ribbon or clip in your hair?

From my POV, for whatever sick reason, high schoolers seem to need to establish a pecking order based on fashion, and they'll do it based on their shoelaces if they must. Uniforms won't prevent it.
posted by clever sheep at 1:31 PM on August 27, 2002

Get 'em while they're hot.
I can't believe I'm the first one.
posted by MrMoonPie at 1:59 PM on August 27, 2002

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