The school district in Little Rock, Ark. has announced plans for a dress code that will require teachers to wear underwear. Every single day. Female teachers will have to wear bras, too.
An Aug. 29 letter from the Little Rock School District’s Office of the Superintendent to all employees explains that the dress code will officially go into effect in the fall of 2014.
“Foundational garments shall be worn and not visible with respect to color, style, and/or fabric,” the letter reads. “No see-through or sheer clothing shall be allowed, and no skin shall be visible between pants/trousers, skirts, and shirts/blouses at any time.”
T-shirts, patches and other clothing containing slogans for beer, alcohol, drugs, gangs or sex will also be prohibited. Other verboten garments will include cut-off jeans with ragged edges, cut-out dresses and spaghetti-straps if teachers aren’t wearing at least two layers.
Flip-flops will be banned. “Tattoos must be covered if at all possible.” No jogging suits, either (though gym and dance teachers do get a pass on this one).
And the very worst of all: No spandex.
Organized labor vocally opposes the new universal underwear requirement and the rest of the non-draconian dress code.
Teachers union president Cathy Koehler wrote her own letter to the rank-and-file detailing her position, according to Arkansas Times, a local alternative rag.
In the letter, Koehler explains her fear that “if an employee refuses to go home and change they can be considered insubordinate and risk losing their job based on an opinion.” She also notes that things could be a lot more restrictive. Teachers can still wear tennis shoes, for example, and male teachers don’t have to wear shirts and ties.
The union president made some limited attempts to soften the new dress code around the edges, which did not sit well with every union member.
“During the past few weeks, there were a few members who felt that I should be very vocal on this issue and taken a firm public stand,” Koehler wrote.
As Eagnews.org notes, this minor kerfuffle in Little Rock is far from the only teacher dress-code dustup of recent vintage.
In 2012, teachers in the beachside hamlet of Hampton, N.H. called an attempt to prevent teachers from wearing jeans, tank-tops and flip-flops “derogatory and condescending.”
This year, in Lewis County, W. Va., teachers pitched a fit because the local board of education voted to prohibit them from wearing blue jeans, faded jeans and shorts to work. (RELATED: Public school teachers go ballistic over teacher dress code)