Image courtesy of the Duke Chronicle
By Renee Rasmussen
With the start of the school year, many students are struggling with the changes online classes have brought. From WiFi problems, to awkward breakout rooms, to siblings interrupting class, this school year may be one of the most unique and challenging ones yet.
However, although online classes are many student’s last choice for education, there have been some positive sides to the Zoom classroom. Many students enjoy the flexibility they bring, and the more the relaxed nature. Students from private school no longer have to wear a uniform, and dress codes are no longer something for students to stress about.
Being able to go to class in your pajamas may be the one good thing to come out of 2020.
But for students in Illinois, this minor reprieve has been taken from the students. In a handbook provided by the Springfield School District, the dress code has been updated to encourage more focused learning.
“Hats, caps, bandanas, hoods of any type, sweatbands, sunglasses, pajama pants, slippers, or shoes with wheels attached to the bottom shall not be worn in the buildings,”according to the Springfield Public Schools Student and Family Handbook 2020-2021.
The handbook also stated that students should not be sitting in a bed during class but rather at a desk or table.
There have been mixed reactions from parents in response to these new policy changes. Parent Elizabeth Ballinger disapproved of the ruling when asked by WCIA about her thoughts on this issue.
“I made the decision for my kids to be at home and I don’t really see how any district can come in and say what my kid can’t wear in my house,” Ballinger said.
Other parents showed their support for the district’s opinion online commenting that getting ready for class is a sign of respect.
“The expectation is that the dress code is upheld,” Jason Wind, director of school support, recently told school board members according to ABC7 News. “We don’t need students in pajamas and all those other things while on their Zoom conferences.”
However just like parents seem to be divided, the Springfield School district seems just as conflicted on the matter.
“In truth, the whole pajama thing is really at the bottom of our priority scale when it comes to public education,”said Aaron Graves, Springfield Education Association according to WCIA.
“There is no distinct dress code for remote learning,” district officials stated in a statement sent to WCIA. “It is understandable that during remote learning our dress code will be flexible.”
This of course leaves the question of accountability. If something as controversial as dress codes from home is not intended to be enforced by teachers or school officials, why cause the unnecessary controversy?
“There are much bigger issues that school districts could focus on and I think dress code at home is so trivial in comparison,” said sophomore Exploratory major Michelle Gallagher.
These policy changes also raise some interesting questions about the amount of control educational systems should have. Is it the school district’s right to mandate what its students wear while taking classes at home?
“If a university or public school doesn’t already have the right to decide what students are wearing in school, why should they gain that right when the students aren’t in the building?” said sophomore English major Bridget Guinee.
“I think it’s pretty silly for school districts to be telling students how to dress at home,” Gallagher said. “Students, especially during COVID and especially those who have low-income families, don’t have all the resources they need to succeed in school.”