Monday, November 12, 2012

Red Button Revolt

I hold the key to your freedom! 
I don’t consider myself a rebel, not really. But I have to say that I was somewhat taken aback when my youngest, Thomas, brought the notice from school about the socks. Like all private schools, his has a dress code. My older son, Adam (now in college) had attended the same school all through High School, so I was familiar with the code and how it had changed over the years. While in school, Adam complained bitterly and often about the ugly clothes he was forced to wear, complaints that usually fell on deaf ears. (Although I will admit that I too thought the khakis with the heavy front pleats were indeed ugly.)

These thoughts came crashing back when I got the note. See, last year I’d sent my youngest to school in a pair of striped socks. What can I say? I hadn’t laundered the whites and found myself in the morning in a bit of a panic. But then I spied the striped socks, which my son really likes, and all was right with the world again.

However, when Thomas came home from school that day he told me, “Teacher said we couldn’t wear stripped socks to school.” Incredulous, I said “What?!” but then resolved to forget about it (and be more responsible about the laundry).

The school year ended, summer started, summer ended, and what do you know?, it’s time to get ready for the new school year. While inspecting Thomas’ back-to-school packet I saw it. The note, which stated that due to a couple of “incidents” last year, school administrators thought it wise to clarify the dress code. Therein followed two bullet point items, and the second was about the socks. Only white socks are to be worn to school, the note stated, no colors or patterns except on “Crazy Sock Day.” Huh? Are they serious?! A second-grader wearing striped socks to school is an “incident?” I have to say that I thought this was a bit much. A bit fascist. Listen, I’ve been an HR professional for the last 14 years. I get the importance of dress codes, okay? But come on. So I complained. Not to the school. I don’t want to be one of those parents, alright? I complained to Adam. And that’s when he reminded me about the red button.

In addition to those unflattering khakis I mentioned earlier, male students are allowed to wear either an approved polo-style or plain white button-down shirt. But Adam, who is a bit of a rebel, didn’t appreciate the school trying to stamp out every trace of his individuality, so he decided to assert himself by sewing a single red button on the lapel of his white button down. According to him, said action had administrators anxiously scrutinizing every line of the dress code, desperately looking for proof of a violation (they found none). Adam also claims that he started a revolution, and other students began sewing red buttons on their lapels, but I gotta’ admit that sounds a little farfetched. Nevertheless, I now get it.

I suppose that a strict dress code is a small price to pay for a quality education provided by decent, even loving,  and knowledgeable staff, but I don’t know. After I finish this blog I think I’m going to hit the notions store and buy a bunch of red buttons. Do you think anyone would notice a sock with a single red button sewn to its leg? We’ll see.

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