School standards and setting an example
School building and recreation area in England

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In the Citizen on Monday was an article about a young girl who had got a face piercing, which contravenes the school dress code and when she refused to remove it she was sent home.  Her mother backed her refusal,  blaming it on the school.  In this instance, I think the school is right to dig its heels in, no matter if you agree with the Dress Code or not, the code exists, she knew it and she deliberately broke it.   However, that is not my main problem, I feel the school is being hypocritical and setting a really bad example by allowing teachers to have facial piercings and not doing anything about it.

As always, I am running the risk of not knowing all the facts and am willing to be corrected, but in the general case, many children see their teachers as role models and if they are told not to do something like get a facial piercing and see their teacher with a piercing, they are going to be resentful of it.  It is not right to have a dress code over such an issue and not enforce it across the school.  Yes, teachers are adults and free to do what they want, but teachers are setting the example and there should be strong leadership to ensure that the right image is being set.  Many employers ask that things like tattoos are on parts of the body that can be covered up, not for H&S but to preserve a company image.

What really needs to happen is that the dress policy is reviewed to see why the ban on facial piercing exists, is it just cosmetic, or is it for some sort of H&S reason?  Does it need to be in place?  I do think children are much more aware of their surroundings and themselves than they ever have been and therefore want to try to do a wider scope of things, which is a good thing, but I fear that self-discipline is dropping, and for the vast majority that comes from the school environment.  Which is why the lesson of obeying the rules is key and should be enforced. 

People have commented that it’s a silly rule and should be ignored, but there are many Laws that people think are silly, but they don’t break them because they know they exist, and if they do break them then society enforces a punishment.  The first time you see this is from the parent and then the school.

The life lesson for the child is rules exist for a reason, if you disagree with it, then work to change it, not just break it.  However the School doesn’t help this if they are not making “Good” rules which can not be fully justified.

(There is also an issue highlighted about the divide between the Parent and the School which the State encourages and the School tries to break – another post I fancy)

 

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One Comment so far:

  1. Chris says:

    Barry, as a teacher, you are required to dress in a manner that is appropriate for the responsible position you hold. That includes things like facial piercing and tattoos. Whilst you will always be able to find examples of exceptions, in every school I have worked, or know people who have worked in, you are obliged to dress in a professional manner and set the right example. You are right about the school doing the right thing and refusing to back down. I’ve see the same standards applied to hairstyles as well.

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