By Kyle Olson
HAMPTON, N.H. – Just how far has the culture in government schools devolved? School district efforts to professionalize staff is now considered an affront to teachers.
At least that’s the attitude emanating from teachers in the Hampton, New Hampshire SAU 90 school district.
The school board is considering an update to its dress-code policy for teachers, and, according to Seacoastonline.com, “several teachers are insulted such a policy exists, telling them blue jeans, sneakers, flip-flops and tank tops are off limits.”
Superintendent Kathleen Murphy said staff members feel the proposed policy is “derogatory and condescending.”
It’s derogatory to ask professionals to dress a little more professionally than the young children in their charge?
Thank goodness several school board members are rejecting this protest as an affront to their authority. Citizens elect the board to run the schools and make the rules. Nobody elected the union to run anything.
“’Who backs up management?” board member Ginny Bridle-Russell asked. “What happens if they go to a teacher and say, ‘I don’t feel that dress is appropriate, it’s too short,’ and the teacher (responds by saying), ‘Says who?’”
Board Chairwoman Charlotte Ring said dress codes must be standardized in districts like Hampton that have more than one school.
“I wouldn’t mind going without a policy if we had one building principal and one school,” Ring said. “But we have three schools and three building principals, and what may be acceptable in one school might not be in another.”
The fact that any school board has to navigate a controversy over the employee dress code illustrates the alarming amount of power teachers unions have grabbed over time.
The unions use that same power to block changes that really matter to students, like new evaluations that increase teacher accountability and improve instruction.
The proposed dress policy in Hampton is on hold for now and the superintendent is planning to report back to the school board in January with more information, according to the news report.
In the meantime, teachers will continue to be free to dress like they’re on the seashore instead of a classroom.