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Tennessee lawmaker wants dress code in schools — for parents


State Rep. Antonio Parkinson says he envisions prohibiting 'sexually suggestive' clothing

Image source: Controversy Radio YouTube screenshot

Tennessee state Rep. Antonio Parkinson (D) has drafted a bill that would require schools in the state to adopt dress codes for parents and other visitors to campuses. He says he's heard a lot of complaints about some of the attire worn by guardians on school grounds.

What are the details?

"I've heard some concerns from principals," Parkinson told WREG-TV. "They say you'd be surprised at some of the stuff that we see."

Parkinson's proposed legislation would require the adoption of a dress code, but each district would be responsible for setting their own guidelines.

"I visualize clothes that are not sexually suggestive," he said. "Not wearing things that might encourage or suggest gang activity."

According to WREG, "the dress code would be part of a larger code of conduct that would ideally prevent parents and visitors from cursing, fighting, and showing up on campus drunk or high."

If Parkinson's bill passes, schools would be required to post the code of conduct at every school entrance and provided to parents each year during class registration.

The Memphis lawmaker plans on introducing his bill within a matter of weeks.

Anything else?

Parkinson's suggestion echoes a similar plan imposed by the Rizvi Springfield School in Mumbai a few years back. The Times of India reported that parents were miffed when they showed up to pick up their kids' report cards one day, and were expected to sign an agreement stating: "I will always come to school in decent and modest attire. If failed to do so, I will be responsible for the consequences."

There were additional rules to that particular code of conduct, which prohibited parents from carrying cellphones to important school meetings, and from "inappropriately" questioning teachers.

School director Rubina Rizvi defended the guidelines, telling the Times, "Some parents come to meetings in very casual wear, which is unacceptable. Sometimes, mobile phones start ringing. Similarly, we have had parents talking rudely to staff. As a school, we follow rules set by the government but we can make our own rules to create a good atmosphere for students."

Proposals to implement dress codes for parents were rejected by two separate Florida school districts in 2014, after officials complained that parents were showing up on school grounds wearing such things as pajamas, skimpy shorts, or with hair in curlers.

Palm Beach County board member Frank Barbieri told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel at the time, "I think we're moving in a terrible direction even talking about this. I'm sure what would happen if we tried to put a policy in place was that poor parents wouldn't come at all out of fear they were dressed inappropriately."

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