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September 27, 2006

A Good Reason For Uniforms

I'm tired of being the t-shirt police.

I'm tired of having to parse out meaningand weighing the relative level of suggestiveness of messages on t-shirts.

And it is a nationwide problem.

Ashli Walker rifled through a rack of designer T-shirts one recent afternoon, pondering which one she should buy and wear the next day to Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Prince George's County. The big black one that read, "TRUST ME..I'M SINGLE"? Or the snug white T-shirt emblazoned with, "I KNOW WHAT BOYS WANT"?

They're blatantly sexual, occasionally clever and often loaded with double meanings, forcing school administrators and other students to read provocations stripped across the chest, such as "yes, but not with u!," "Your Boyfriend Is a Good Kisser" and "two boys for every girl." Such T-shirts also are emblematic of the kind of sleazy-chic culture some teenagers now inhabit, in which status can be defined by images of sexual promiscuity that previous generations might have considered unhip.

The T-shirts, which school officials say are racier than ever, are posing dress-code dilemmas on Washington area campuses. School systems typically ban clothing that expresses vulgarity, obscenity or lewdness or that promotes cigarettes, alcohol, drugs or weapons. For instance, T-shirts advertising Budweiser or the movie "Scarface," with Al Pacino holding a tommy gun, are taboo.

But sexually suggestive T-shirts often fall into a gray area that requires officials to evaluate one shirt at a time. Some messages are considered harmless -- "Single and Ready to Mingle" or "My Boyfriend Is a Good Kisser." Others are not.

"We try not to make a huge deal out of it, but we also want to be protecting the school environment," said Rick Mondloch, an associate principal at Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax County, who recently ordered a "Pimps" shirt turned inside out. "These shirts are more risque than they were even five years ago and probably a little more blunt, so you have to be attuned to it."

I still recall a struggle we had over a t-shirt several years ago. Several girls had bought shirts that looked like old-style ads depicting a couple of soft-serve ice cream cones.. The slogan? "Tasty Cones -- Give One A Lick!" , with the little twirl at the top of each dessert placed strategically over the nipples? Dirty messages on the shirts? Or dirty-old men oggling innocent teenage girls (one parent's argument)? You decide.

Personally, I'm for uniforms for all students -- just to get the inapprorpaite messages off the shirts and the pants up to the waist.





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Comments on A Good Reason For Uniforms

I agree with you about the uniforms. Some of the slogans I see these days are just unbelievable, and you're absolutely correct that educators should not have to monitor clothing as well. When I worked at a high school in Japan, we had a lot of problems, but questionable clothing was not one of them!

|| Posted by TheBizofKnowledge, September 27, 2006 05:43 AM ||

and if the sleazy post-Christian US Empire had its way, Iraqi girls would trade the veil for the tawdry, while emulating the already decadent Tel Aviv girls.

|| Posted by Ken Hoop, September 27, 2006 05:21 PM ||

Actually, we who support liberty welcome the voluntary wearing of whatever Iraqi women wish -- hile you wish to see the Jewish girls in concentration camp uniforms before they are loaded into the crematoria.

|| Posted by Rhymes With Right, September 27, 2006 06:50 PM ||
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