Should Schools Introduce Dress Codes for Parents?

Elise Solé

If you’re a busy parent who brings your child to school each morning, you probably don't give much thought to what you throw on before heading out the door. But if your kid goes to school in Florida, you might soon have to ditch those yoga pants and starting dressing up for the drop-off. One Florida school board member is proposing a dress code for parents in order to set a good example for students.

According to a story published recently in the Sun Sentinel, Broward County Public Schools board member Rosalind Osgood broached the topic during a recent school board meeting, citing as an example fathers who pick their children up wearing saggy pants at Boyd Anderson High School in her district. (She notes that students at that school are banned from wearing saggy pants.) “I’m not trying to instill a strict dress code,” Osgood, a mother of three, tells Yahoo Shine. “This is about basic presentation — many parents pick their children up wearing curlers in their hair, sweatpants that fall down, and even pajamas. How can we teach our children to be serious about education if their parents don’t set the right tone?”

Osgood’s suggestions don’t ban specific items, but rather include “dressing as though you’re going to church, work, or dinner.” Sweatpants are actually acceptable, she says, as long as hair is neat. And jeans are fine too, provided they’re not worn with a skimpy camisole or pajama top. “It’s hard to take parents seriously when they’re dressed sloppy, and it embarrasses the children, too,” she adds. "People have been telling me to focus on other issues, but this is important.”

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And while Osgood admits it’s unlikely that a parental dress code would actually be instituted and enforced, she and another board member plan to address the issue during at the high school's upcoming Parent Night and hold a forum on the topic in September.

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Yahoo Shine could not reach Boyd Anderson High School Principal Angel Almanzar for comment, however, the reaction on Twitter has been mostly negative.   

“With all the big issues plaguing public schools these days — high poverty rates, language barriers, classroom crowding, guns — there should be bigger concerns than parents in their PJs in school drop-off lines," Mama Sass, a columnist with the Miami Herald, wrote in a column published last week. "As a parent, my morning responsibility is to get my child to school on time. ... Schools have dress codes for students because they spend the entire day there. My fuzzy bunny slippers will not interfere with their learning. Are my jammie pants lowering your test scores? Maybe if our kids didn’t have a crazy amount of homework each night, we parents would have more time to thoughtfully set out our clothes for the next morning."

If the parental dress code is approved, it will join a long list of controversial school bans that have taken place recently. In May, an unnamed preschool made headlines for banning “superhero play” due to rising injuries and urged parents to monitor their children’s media consumption to prevent kids from recreating action scenes at school. And in 2012, a Georgia elementary school banned the acronym "LOL" by forcing students to sign a pledge stating that they would not write it or any other texting acronym on the pages of anyone's yearbook. After parental backlash, the school reversed its policy.

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