offensive t-shirt seams, temporary body art, and the pointless pursuit of de-sassing teens

Leave it to my youngest to bring up back to school shopping.  In July.  While on vacation.

I guess one could praise Bear for her foresight and responsibility.  Me?  I fell back on Advanced Parenting 301.  I said I didn’t want to think about it until August.

And dammit, here we are.

Bear’s already developed an aversion to infractions, AKA a semi-neurotic need to avoid getting in trouble at school.  This is in no small part due to her brother’s tales from sixth grade life.  Teachers who crack down on every tiny thing students do wrong.  The horror of getting an infraction stamp in your agenda.  The utter injustice delivered willy nilly to classes at large.

Because of course our little angel wouldn’t exaggerate, right?  [wink, wink, nudge, nudge]

All of this prep work has resulted in Bear declaring this The Year of No Shorts.  She’s taking this stand in The State of Unbearably Hot Weather but hey, it’s her choice.

It’s hard to blame her, really.  The girl’s just about 5’5″ and all legs, plus short(er) shorts are in fashion at the moment.  The combination of these factors pretty much rules out finding clothing that meet our middle school’s “shorts, skirts, skorts, and splits must be no higher than the top of the knee” rule.  As a matter of fact, given the 2-3″ inseams I’ve seen lately, only itty bitty cheer girls have a shot at dress code shorts.


Some of the rules from our particular school’s handbook

**  Clothing must be worn appropriately (nothing inside-out or backwards, no rolled up pant legs)…  Um, wtf?  Is the child covered?  Are they present and awake for learning?  Then why am I supposed to care that their t-shirt is inside-out?

**  No clothing with distracting writing (i.e. sexy, sassy, etc.)  Okay, it literally lists “sassy” in that handbook.  I’m sorry, but have you MET a teenager lately?  They ooze sass out of every pore, and you think keeping it off their clothing is going to improve your school setting?  Freaking A.  I can agree you can’t have a kid walking down the hall wearing a shirt that says “Ready to f***” but there’s gotta be a better way to write this rule.

** Low-cut blouses/shirts/tops.  Okay, is this your idea of low-cut or mine?  We live in NC.  My girl won’t show up to school flashing boob, but I’m also not sending her in a turtleneck just so no one spots skin below her neck.

** No temporary body art, face paint, writing or drawings on the body.  At the risk of coming off as a hippie, peace&love, let ’em be mama…really?  If you’re worried about gang stuff, then write a specific gang rule.  I’m pretty sure face paint is already covered in your policy, and you’re as likely to stop teens from doodling on themselves as you are to stop the tide.  Stop trying to freaking control every little thing and maybe you can make headway with the important stuff.


Bear’s desire to stay off the troublemaker list means she’s ready to shop for capris, jeggings, and palazzo pants.  My desire to limit shopping means I’m ready to help develop a more realistic dress code.

** No booty shorts.  Can we just agree that our primary aim here is not to see ass?  Given that girls come in all shapes and sizes – tall, short, curvy, straight, hippy, high-waisted – let’s just cut to the chase and say clothing that covers your cheeks will meet the need.

**  Underwear should not be visible at any time.  This addresses a broad array of issues.  Boys who “sag” so their boxers show, and girls who let thongs peek out of the tops of their jeans.  See-through tops (I can hardly believe I have to say this about a school setting but yes, see-through tops), backless clothing, and dresses that flash panty if you bend over to grab your backpack.  Bonus: it probably covers two dozen more situations I can’t even think of at the moment.  Whatever.  I’d be hard pressed to find a parent who’d argue visible underwear is useful in an insanely hormonal academic setting.

**  No gang signs, insignia, or colors.  Shocking, I know, but I agree with the establishment on this one.  Things have gotten a bit too volatile to screw around with gang wars on campus.  Maybe next we can work on that problem outside of school, too.

Or, maybe we could go with this.

**  Come to school clothed and ready to learn.  Dress comfortably – you’re about to spend seven hours in a building that was not designed for chilling out.  If you’d wear it to a nightclub, leave it home for Friday night.  Don’t bring or wear anything that could harm another student.  Your opinions are yours alone.  Take ownership of your choices, but you are not responsible for delicate snowflakes “offended” by your political/social/religious/environmental/whatever-the-next-thing-is-that-chaffs-someone’s-ass t-shirts.  You do you, they’ll do them, and everyone will leave with an education.

How ’bout them apples?

13 thoughts on “offensive t-shirt seams, temporary body art, and the pointless pursuit of de-sassing teens

  1. It’s a bit less strict here, and I’m pleased to discover that shoulder shaming girls ends at high school. Yippee! Sassy went off sleeveless today and it was like she didn’t even feel like a slut for having arms! *rolls eyes*
    The middle school takes dress code VERY (too) seriously, and the shorts thing is about inches at fingertips, which has never worked for my kids, cause they all have long arms and legs, prolly like Bear, and could only wear Bermudas because of it.
    I’m surprised by the body art thing, cause it’s very trendy here. Henna tattoos and even Sharpie bracelets… Also, rolled-up jeans are all the rage, and I don’t think SASSY is an offensive word. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I had to fight with a middle school principle after our daughter was sent home for having a skirt that was too short. I knew that wasn’t the case, cause my wife was with her when she bought clothes and when she left for school. Turns out the rule was (n) inches above the knee. For our daughter, who was tall, that meant a skirt that was impossible to buy and would require ribbon be sewn on. For much shorter girls, it translated to mini-skirt is ok.

    I suggested that since they were worried about revealing the stuff at the upper end, they should find a way to say “measuring down from hoo hah…” She agreed to let our daughter return to school.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve been giving it thought, and the only thing I can come up with is if the school says a t-shirt is unacceptable they don’t want the kid to turn it inside out & return to class. Although why they’d find more missed instructional time better is beyond me.

      Liked by 1 person

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