More and more schools are creating some form of dress codes for their students. But what about dress codes for the teachers? This issue has risen in Nashville, Tennessee where beginning this school year students are required to follow a dress code of collared shirts, belts, and specific colors.
After some concern, the Nashville School Board decided to follow the student dress code with a proposed teacher dress code. However, enforcing a dress code for workers is not as easy as it is for students. The teachers have a union and a contract to back them.
Some teacher groups argue that an overall dress code for teachers should not be needed. Teachers should be addressed on a personal basis if their attire is found to be offensive. However, some districts have tried to put a dress code in writing.
One district in New Jersey suggested that male teachers wear a jacket and tie or suit. Women were asked to wear skirts or dress slacks with a blouse. Unlike many, the teachers in this county were accepting of the policy.
In 1996, California districts tried to require women teachers to wear heels and panty hose to school. The men would be required to wear a tie. The teachers opposed and the battle took off to court. The teachers argued that heels were not practical for early childhood educators who often were on the floor with their children. They also stated that men teaching building and shop could be harmed from a loose hanging tie.
Many feel that if the children are expected to follow a dress code, teachers should at least set a good example and follow the same code. For example, if the students are not expected to wear jeans then the teachers should not wear them either.
Teachers in Nashville plan to vote on their newly proposed dress code next month.