The big debate: Schoolwear do’s and don’ts

School fashion has been hitting the headlines recently with both students and teachers’ outfits prompting action from school authorities in Việt Nam – but this seems to be a major worldwide issue.

In one Mekong Delta school, the major talking point was the length and width of school trousers which saw 100 teenagers sent home for wearing trousers with leg openings that were deemed too small, the figure-hugging fashion too much for local schools.

Next up, female teacher’s short skirts are causing a stir in central Việt Nam with a school now considering barring female teachers from wearing short skirts in the classroom in fear ‘that students and teachers themselves may get into unexpected awkward situations’.

There are no examples given but it seems exposure to a teacher’s leg will not do.

uniformStudents walking out of an exam center in Hồ Chí Minh City in the national high school graduation exam in June

Educators at the school in Quảng Bình Province received draft regulations from its management that ban short skirts in the 2013-14 academic year which begins in September and ends at the end of May/start of June, according to a school president.

The new draft’s intention is to prevent female teachers from getting into embarrassing situations where they may accidentally reveal body parts.

Long skirts and maternity dresses, though, have been given the all-clear.

The schools did not reveal if T-shirts or short shirts are acceptable or not.

According to media reports, the draft has come about after one female teacher saw her skirt blown up by a fan in a classroom, causing her students to laugh out loud and no doubt some embarrassment for the teacher involved, especially as her ‘test-case’ is a nationwide story that everyone is talking about.

Now back in my school days in the UK, I don’t think the issue with short skirts was anything to do with the teachers who are after all adults and should be able to think and decide for themselves what is and is not appropriate.

I can remember some teachers, mostly female ones, who had the figure to match, wore more risqué items of clothing and why not, it’s their choice.

I don’t recall any fans whooping up their skirt or any embarrassing or awkward situations arising.

It was more the students themselves where there may have been an issue with short skirts, the girls that is, I don’t think the boys were allowed to wear skirts, not even the Boy George fans.

And before you suggest, Scottish boys don’t wear kilts to school not outside the movies anyway.

Kids in British schools will do just about anything to rebel against a school uniform with the short skirts maybe part of that expression of rebellion.

I don’t remember the teachers having to rebel with their choice of attire.

Some girls would wear a ‘bland’ school uniform when they left the house but would bring a change of trendier or more revealing outfit in their bag to wear at school.

In recent times in the UK, schools have vowed to suspend girls who wear skirts that are too short due to concerns from teachers and parents.

The rule at one school is that skirts must rise no higher than the end of the tips of fingers when the arms are placed down.

The problem at some schools is that hemlines of girls’ skirts have risen to such a level that they are proving a distraction to many boys and, quite possibly, male teachers.

A school headmaster described short skirts as capable of causing ‘inappropriate thoughts’ among boys and a ‘difficult distraction for members of staff.’

Girls at some UK schools have been given the option to wear trousers; at some schools trousers are even compulsory.

In America, it is cheerleaders’ outfits that are the topic of debate with several Florida high schools restricting or even banning their own cheerleading uniforms, saying the skimpy skirts violate dress codes.

Some schools won’t allow cheerleaders to wear their uniforms during the school day because of the outfits’ short skirt and sleeveless top, local media reported.

For generations, cheerleaders have donned their gear during the school day for pep rallies before Friday night football games.

One parent commented, ‘If it’s a school uniform approved by the administration, why is it out of dress code?

If the cheerleaders can wear it in front of thousands of people at a football field, why can’t they wear it on game day at school?”

In South Korea, some schools use ‘modesty boards’ which are placed in front of girls’ desks.

The schoolwear issue appears to be one of those never-ending debates which will crop up year in, year out and be handed down the generations.

Students being told what to wear is one thing but taking that choice out of the teacher’s hands is another matter altogether.



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