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Banning Leggings? Really, we’re doing this now?

As a kid the phrase “dress code” was synonymous with punishment. But as an adult and a parent I’ve come to look at dress codes a little more objectively. I firmly support dress codes that restrict short shorts and half tops and some shoes even. Girls can’t function and play, as they should while scraping their bottoms because of short shorts and skirts. Kids can’t run and jump and climb, as they should in high heel boots or flip-flops.

To me these kinds of restrictions are more logistical than moral and I’m OK with those kinds of things, as I’ve talked about before. I’m also OK with bans that are more morally centered if the reasons make sense like here. At the same time I feel that some schools go overboard and focus on dress codes and restrictions that make no sense. Things like pajama bottoms for instance. I actually didn’t think a school could get much more ridiculous than banning pajama bottoms, but apparently I was wrong.

In Halifax the Eastern Passion Education Centre, a junior high, has decided to ban yoga and stretch pants. Yes, one of the most popular kinds of clothing for girls, teens (and adults too) have been banned. This automatically posed a question mark in my mind. My 7 year old daughter will only wear stretch pants, or “fuzzy pants” as she likes to call them because they are “soft and fuzzy instead of scratchy, so they make playing easier.” A direct quote from her. She hates jeans. Frankly I can’t blame her.

So knowing my own feelings on stretch and yoga pants, as well as my daughters, I had to wonder why. A blog post on Canadian Family from writer Karen Green sums it up nicely:

“Among the reasons that the school gives for this change to the dress code so late in the school year is that the leggings are “distracting.” Distracting to what or whom, exactly? Well, distracting to the learning process, the school claims … Until the school can provide research and proof that girls who do not wear leggings perform better than girls who do wear leggings, I’m not buying it. The real answer, I think, is distracting to the boys. Possibly even the male teachers. That seems a more likely answer to me. And a much more disturbing one.”

I think that if boys are so distracted by girls in stretch pants that they are unable to learn (and really that’s what we’re saying here) than maybe the boys are the problem that need to be examined. Not girls in yoga pants. Besides, are the jeans girls are wearing these days going to be less distracting to the easily distractible boys? Or are jeans next on the list? Where would this end exactly?

I just keep imagining what it would be like if our school told my daughter that her fuzzy pants, the ones she feels most safe and comfortable in, were too “distracting.” I can guarantee one thing I would be camped out in that office until the ban was reversed, and I’d be wearing yoga pants the whole time.

What do you think?