School dress codes are not without controversy, In some locales, students are fighting back against rules they find to be gender-biased and unfair. In one state, however, it’s the moms and dads—not the kids—who could face new rules with a school dress code for parents.

Tennessee state representative Antonio Parkinson has proposed a new bill that would require parents to abide by a specific dress code while on school campuses. While the clothing portion of the initiative has received the most attention, the bill is in fact meant to encompass a wider code of conduct for all adults who come on school campuses, this includes behavior and attire.

Parkinson told Red Tricycle that the idea for this bill was prompted by an internet meme of all things, poking fun at parents attire.

From that meme a conversation took hold and based on reactions from some of his constituents, Parkinson decided to reach out to principals and schools in his state. He was surprised to find that it was a serious problem at many schools—and that it was more than just a few pajama-clad parents in the pick-up line. From parents wearing revealing lingerie inside elementary schools buildings to parents fighting in front of students, the problem goes beyond clothes and encompasses adult conduct in general.

The legislation, which Parkinson expects to do well, requires all Tennessee school districts to develop a minimum code of conduct for anyone that steps on a school campus and can include attire, but it doesn’t have to. It’s up to each school district to craft a policy that fits their specific schools.

This is not a problem specific to Tennessee. Parkinson has received tons of feedback from parents and principals in other states, applauding his effort to start an important conversation about conduct for all adults in a school setting. Parkinson believes everything on campus should contribute to education and not hinder it.

Parkinson tells Red Tricycle, “If we as adults remove our selfishness from the situation, we can create an environment more conducive to learning.”

—Shahrzad Warkentin

Featured photo: Pexels



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