Sunday, September 3, 2006

School Daze, Phase II

The day after tomorrow Audrey starts middle school, which in these parts is seventh and eighth grade. No more staying in the same classroom all day long, no more little kids sharing the halls, and lots more focus on status, cliques and, perhaps most of all, personal attire.

Seventh grade is becoming an ever more distant memory for me but I think the most serious issue about clothing back then was whether wearing really worn jeans -- with tears, exposing a knee -- was acceptable. These were the hippie days and they were our slightly older role models but school was still a place where "looking nice" mattered to our parents. So it was a tug of war to look a little grungy or exactly like Beaver Cleaver.

These days the issues are, well, different.

Here are some excerpts from the dress code for my daughter's new school, provided with the orientation package (did I even get a dress code guideline in my day?)

It should be pointed out that the entering class is 12 years old:
  • No spaghetti straps (shirt must be worn over or under it)
  • Tank top straps must be at least 1-1/2 inches wide
  • No tube tops
  • No "see-through" tops (without a second shirt)
  • No low cut "guy" tank tops or "muscle shirts"
  • No midriffs-belly shirts
  • No tops with backs exposed
  • No underwear visible
  • Shorts and skirts -- no more than 6" above the top of the knee
  • Pants should be secured at the waist/hips with pant legs pulled down
  • All pants should be worn in such away so that bare skin is not exposed
I guess the policy on piercings and tats are still be worked out.

I'm not going to embarrass myself further by making silly arguments about VH1 and video games and Bravo being the root of all evil. Things change, parents are always outraged or at least queasy about many of the choices their children make.

But it sure does seem that these particular things are happening earlier and earlier in life.