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« Re: The Fear of Being Fooled | Main | Re: Another Reason »

September 27, 2006

Another Reason for School Uniforms

Tshirt_1 Continuing on Travis's theme about the demise of modesty, I know I'm not the only one who wants to gather all the attitude T-shirts and have a bonfire on the beach. I'm talking about those shirts that feature messages from "Your Boyfriend Is a Good Kisser" to worse, much worse. While intercourse among teens is in decline (though oral sex is prevalent), innuendo is way, way up. Today's Washington Post has a page-one story on the new challenge for school administrators: sexually suggestive t-shirts.

For teenagers who chafe at clothing rules for midriffs and cleavage, "attitude" shirts offer a chance to show some skin, without showing skin.

"We have so many dress codes or whatever, so the T-shirts are like us rebelling against the teachers and principals because we can't wear what we want," said Ashli, 17, a junior at Eleanor Roosevelt, in Greenbelt, who said she does not want to have sex until she is married. "I think most girls and boys get the T-shirts because they're funny and they draw attention to you. I don't really care what guys say."

Her mother, Yakini Ajanaku, does not mind her daughter's T-shirts because she said Ashli wears them to be ironic. "I know she's a sweet girl, and I know that she's very conservative and is not sexually active," Ajanaku said. "Other people would probably get the wrong message, but I am pretty much like, 'Who cares what they think?' "

Oh, Mom, you should care very much what people think. Because though you believe nothing physical is manifesting itself, actions are birthed in thoughts and imagination. And believe me, the imaginations are running wild:

Guys say there is nothing confusing about the messages. "When I see a T-shirt that says, '100% single,' then you're compelled to go up and talk to them," said Paul Barrett, 17, a senior at Osbourn Park. "But if they're not single, it'd kind of [tick] me off, like they're a tease. I wouldn't let my girlfriend wear that."

The message invites a conversation. The conversation leads to flirting and suggestions. The flirting and suggestions lead to, ahem, after-school activities -- and I don't mean football practice or band. Don't help the thoughts germinate in the first place. Go change your clothes...

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Words have power. Are the kinds of messages displayed on these tee-shirts what you want your teens saying to the world? I am amazed at the non-parenting going on in today's culture. I can't imagine what my parents would say if I had decided to walk out of the house with a message like that plastered on my chest. Oh - I'm sorry, I take that back - yes I can. And it wouldn't be some half-hearted attempt to understand my semi-developed brain along with some mealy-mouthed "Well, at least you're not having sex, you're a good girl" message. They would tell me to take off the shirt or not leave the house and then proceed to explain what it is that I am saying to the world by wearing such a garment. But then again, I would have been embarrassed to be seen, especially by my parents, wearing such a message. Such is the trouble with the teens of today. Nothing embarrasses them - except their parents.

Danny Orozco

I'm a high school teacher at a public school in San Francisco. I teach at a school that requires school uniforms. That's right, I am at a public school. The main reason is to avoid gang related violence, but I am very glad that uniforms are required. It doesn't take gang violence to force schools to adopt a uniform policy, all it takes are some dedicated parents and some very winsome arguments by parents and teachers in order to approve of school uniforms. As well as strict enforcement of the uniform policy. At a public high school in San Francisco uniforms work and it has prevented many of the "after school activities" from ever taking place. Thanks to the uniforms I can focus on teaching my students math and not worry about all the distractions that are caused when students are mindlessly wearing the fashions they see in malls, TV, and magazines. And my students can read their books, look at the whiteboard and have discussions about a math problem instead of discussing the clothes of another student. Students might not like it, but they are certainly reaping the benefits from uniforms.


I am totally against school uniforms. They make kids loolk really, really stuid. I hope that my school NEVER get school uniforms.

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