Dallas ISD Ends Shirt-Tucking Requirement Over Concerns That it Damages Fat Kids

Dallas ISD trustees still haven't decided what to do about the roster of principals whose jobs could be on the chopping block. The matter has now been delayed twice, thus sparing trustees from making an extremely controversial decision until after this weekend's election.

At their meeting Thursday, trustees did manage to find time for a minutely detailed discussion of student dress code. Leggings, it was agreed, aren't to be worn as pants but are perfectly acceptable as undergarments. Skirts should come no higher than the girl's fingertips and should sometimes be longer since, as one trustee pointed out, some girls have very short arms. Earrings on boys? "They should be banned," Bernadette Nutall decided. "Boys should not be wearing earrings."

"What about the gauges?" Adam Medrano wondered. "A lot of kids have the gauges where they're stretching their ear." Someone else mentioned straws, which kids sometimes use in place of actual jewelry. Both would be banned under the policy.

The topic that got the most scrutiny, however, was shirt-tucking. District staff told the board they wanted to do away with the requirement that all kids tuck in their shirts and leave it up to individual schools. Why? Because of fat kids

No one actually called them fat kids, of course. For Board President Lew Blackburn they are "healthy." One staff member referred to kids with "a body type that was different." Nancy Bingham made a point to interject and say she prefers the term "fluffy."

Mysteriously, no one came up with "overweight," which seems like a pretty reasonable compromise between "tubbo" and "healthy." Whatever the case, it seems that forcing "fluffy" children to tuck in their shirts has sparked a bit of controversy.

"Now, I am always one to say tuck in your shirts, but it was brought to my attention that if you are, uh healthy, tucking in your shirt shows your healthiness and that's not what they wanted to do," Blackburn explained.

"For a middle-school student, it could be a self-esteem issue if they are made to tuck in their shirt, because if they wear it loose, their healthiness might not show as much."

The staff member agreed. "It was difficult to address a student who had a body type that was different and perhaps was not as comfortable," she said. "Because of the style of shirt as well as the body type of the individual and we were needing to be more sensitive to the student and not necessarily the insistence that they tuck in the shirt so long as the attire was appropriate."

Trustee Dan Micciche was a bit bewildered by the fact that his colleagues had actually just spent 20 minutes talking about shirttails and leggings. "I can't believe that this is actually a (board) policy. ... I just think it's way too detailed." He suggested permanently delegating the responsibility for the dress code to the administration.

Clearly Micciche, still a freshman board member, has not yet grasped the role of shirt tuckage in turning around a struggling urban school district. Nor does he apparently realize that, if the board talks about leggings and ear gauges for long enough, that principal-firing thing will probably just solve itself.

(h/t DISD Blog)

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Eric Nicholson
Contact: Eric Nicholson