Should We Have a School Dress Code For Parents?


Gina Vivinetto wrote in TODAY Style on 1/25/19, that “A Memphis, Tennessee, lawmaker is gaining attention across the country for proposing a new school dress code — but this time, it’s for the parents.

State representative Antonio Parkinson said that after talking with school leaders, educators and other constituents, he’d heard enough ‘horror stories’ about the way adults dress — and behave — when they visit Tennessee public schools, that it was time to give them their own set of rules.”

“People wearing next to nothing. People wearing shirts or tattoos with expletives. People coming onto a school campus and cursing the principal or the teacher out. These things happen regularly,” Parkinson told TODAY Style.

While the dress code aspect of the new bill is getting most of the attention, Parkinson said the rest of the bill would ask school districts across the state to draft larger “codes of conduct” for grown-ups who come on campus.

The goal is to make sure people are aware of the “expected decorum” when you’re on a school campus, Parkinson said, adding that the bill allows each school district to create their own policies.

Palm Beach

In Palm Beach, a proposal to create a dress code to sway unkempt parents from showing up at school functions was shot down in January 2015.

According to AP, “The idea originated just south, in Broward County, where the school board was considering changes to the student code of conduct. Board member Rosalind Osgood said parents were showing up wearing sagging pants, pajamas and rollers in their hair and that a policy pertaining to their appearance might be appropriate, too.

No vote was taken in Palm Beach, but the proposal appeared unlikely to be revisited.

Broward County has taken no action yet.

Debra Wilhelm, president of the Palm Beach County Classroom Teachers Association union, said addressing parents’ dress was far from being the most important issue facing schools, and she questioned what effectiveness a policy could even have.

‘Who’s going to enforce it?’ she asked. ‘Are they going to have school police arrest parents?’”

Tamara Cranford, a mother of two children in Memphis public schools, agrees that the Tennessee bill proposed by State representative Antonio Parkinson is a good idea.


When she heard of a Florida school board proposing a dress code for parents several years ago, Cranford, who has worked as a substitute teacher in the past, worried it would unfairly target low-income families who “don’t have the means to dress a certain way.”

Now, she believes a dress code for parents is needed.

“Things have gotten out of hand,” said Cranford, who has both a daughter, Alexis, 13, and a son, Christopher, 8. “The men don’t pull their pants up. They’re wearing shirts with inappropriate lingo on it. Things you don’t want a child seeing it.”

Christina Coppa is a professional writer/editor, who’s contributed to Glamour, Marie Claire (Australia), First for Women, In Touch, Parenting, Baby Talk, and Parents among other publications and notable websites. Her work has been buzzed about in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and on ABC’s 20/20.


“…last night was Back to School Night at my son’s school.  I was extra excited to attend…I know I’m going to get yelled at online for this…so it kind of ruffled my feathers when my eyes darted around the auditorium to see parents in basketball shorts, slouchy pants that looked like PJS, and ill fitting, wrinkled attire.  Seriously, parents, have a little pride.

You’re not only representing yourself – you’re representing your kids. What are you telling the world when you show up for life in a shower cap and sweat pants?

School officials say that parents are actually showing up in booty shorts, shower caps and with rollers in their hair to pick up their kids and worse, at school functions.

I care how my son Jack sees me. I don’t want to be the sloppy mom…I want to show my son life is a complete package.  We get up!  We wash up! We dress to impress no matter what we put on our backs.  We start our day and make the best day possible.  If I don’t do this…why should he?”










One thought on “Should We Have a School Dress Code For Parents?

  1. Just make it known that the subject was considered. Encourage parents to recognize they are ‘leaders’ and are setting an .example. Please don’t have another committee wasting countless hours. preparing common sense guidelines. .

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