• Wed, Aug 22 2012

Seriously? Kindergartner Violates School Dress Code By Supporting The ‘Wrong’ Football Team

dress codeI could not make this story up if I tried. And I have a vivid imagination, my friends. A kindergartner in Oklahoma was just settling into his new school, which I know is a pretty exciting time for any child. There’s lots of new friends, but also plenty of anxiety. Suddenly, his teacher tells him that his tee-shirt is inappropriate and will have to be worn inside out for the day.

What was so horrible about this little boy’s clothing choice? It didn’t swear, promote alcohol or tobacco or display an offensive image. (I’m pretty sure those were the guidelines when I was in school.) No, this little boy offended the eyes of his classmates by daring to wear a University of Michigan tee-shirt.

According to the dress code in the five-year-old’s school, students are only allowed to wear clothing that supports Oklahoma or Oklahoma State. The policy was apparently implemented to crack down on students showing gang affiliation. Obviously there was a real concern that this kindergartner was promoting gang violence.

Now honestly, we can all agree that the dress code is silly. Banning every other state’s athletic memorabilia is just ludicrous. It doesn’t help anyone. But my problem is not with a silly dress code. My problem is that the thing was enforced in the first weeks of school on a poor kindergartner who had no idea what was going on.

I know no one is shocked to learn that I was not a very shy child, but everyone remembers the stress of the first days of school. You’re trying desperately not to cause any waves. You’re terrified of even raising your hand because you don’t want to be wrong about anything. Getting in trouble, and everyone seeing your shirt inside-out because of that trouble, had to be enormously embarrassing for that little kid. Congratulations Oklahoma schools for making a five-year-old feel awful about school from the very beginning.

This whole story is just a lesson in over-reaction. If the teacher was really worried about the shirt, send a note home to the parent explaining the rule and asking that they not wear the shirt again. Really, a day of Michigan support was not going to hurt anyone in that school. Instead, a silly rule has become a big news story for us all to shake our heads at.

A five-year-old humiliated because his parents like an out-of-state football team? The only appropriate response to this story is, “Seriously?”

Apparently this little boy’s school is considering changing their dress code. That’s all fine and dandy. But maybe we should also instruct the teachers on the difference between a real threat and minor misunderstanding. A lesson in tact might be appropriate as well.

(Photo: bofotolux/Shutterstock)

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  • Ipsedixit

    I get that the dress code is ridiculous. The teacher should have, like you said, sent a note home considering it was the first few days of school. However, the parents taking this to the media is just as much of an overreaction, if not worse. Meet with the principal, discuss the situation, the end. They turned what should have been a momentary embarrassment into a national headline because *they* failed to follow the rules, however silly they are. Congratulations. You really showed them, Mom and Dad!

    • Mama

      I completely disagree. I don’t know how this story got out, but in the age of social media there was no avoiding it. If it was my kid, I would’ve taken to social media and spread the story anywhere I could. Meeting with the principal would’ve done what? Making the school feel just as ashamed as my kid would lead to change.

    • ipsedixit

      These are adults and they need to lead by example. The parents talked to the media, so yes, they are to blame for the story perpetuating and becoming a national headline rather than something to be handled between the two parties. Not every perceived slight against a child deserves a national outcry. A child who is severely bullied to the point of harming themselves? Yes. A child being hit or neglected by a teacher or aid? Yes. A child who had to turn his shirt inside out because *his parents* are so inept they cannot follow simple directions, then decide to blame the school for *their* failure? Uh, nope. If your child feels “ashamed” to the point where you feel the need to create a mob mentality because your snowflake had to *turn his shirt inside out for one day*…then God help us all for this next generation.

    • Mama

      Haha… really? This is the biggest problem facing the next generation? I think you’re focusing on the wrong thing here. This is dumb. They made the kid feel awful about something dumb. That’s the point.

    • Ipsedixit

      Please. The problem is parents making a mountain out of a mole hill about something so ridiculous as having a child turn their shirt inside out. Are they going to overreact this way every time their kid feels bad? “You made my kid feel bad so now I’m going to embarrass you!” Real class acts. The teacher should have sent a note home. The parents should have spoke with the teacher or principal, not reacted with media attention. That is going overboard because the school “made a kid feel bad.” Mom and Dad screwed up by not following the rules, but they don’t want to take the blame. They’re probably hoping Michigan will throw in some free tickets and gear for their littlest fan.

    • mari

      The teacher, the school and the dress code made the mountain out of the mole hill. By the way gangs represent their states in their clothing now? I didn’t know that. It was a stood thing to begin with. The rule itself is wrong.

    • Ipsedixit

      Hahaha. Having a child turn his shirt inside out for a day is making a mountain out of a mole hill? Sweet baby Jesus. Someone call CPS because a child has been *embarrassed*. Both parties could’ve acted better (as I’ve said at least twice up thread), however, the ones who spoke to the media are the ones making a big deal out of it. This does not deserve national attention and only highlights the parents inability to read and follow simple – albeit silly – rules. My friend is a 7th grade English teacher. Last year a parent called the school to complain that she assigned homework. I have a feeling these parents are going to be the type to do such a thing in about 7 years. Maybe they’ll alert the media.

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