Lunaya Pravda

19 June 2006

And educrats wonder why parents homeschool

Looming flip-flop ban creates flap

The board decided to give flip-flops the boot because they consider them dangerous for working in school laboratories and for walking in crowded halls.

"Think about all the kids parading through the halls. You could get your feet stepped on, or a chair run across the edge of your foot," said Ed Barney, a board member who favored the ban in last week’s 3-1 preliminary vote. "Students should wear something that is going to protect their feet."

While I'll agree that wearing safe footwear is essential in a lab, an outright ban is just absurd. I'm willing to bet the board doesn't require students to keep their lab goggles on after leaving the lab, or their welding helmets on after they leave shop. They also can't stop students from wearing flip-flops in the mall where the risk of someone stepping on bare toes is just as great.

Professionalism was discussed at the Federal Way School Board’s meeting, as well. Next year, three middle schools in the district will begin requiring school uniforms. None are planned for the high schools, but officials say banning flip-flops is a middle ground for establishing a dress code that is appropriate. The hope is to prepare the students for higher standards they’ll face in the workplace.

"We want students to start on their professional lives," said Debbie Winskill, a Tacoma School Board member who agrees with the ban. "Flip-flops are not in that plan."

Which is nice, but educators are forgetting that more and more companies are adopting a relaxed and casual dress code, particularly tech companies. A friend of mine recently changed jobs, and while he showed up to an interview professionally dressed, the man asking the questions was wearing a t-shirt, bermuda shorts, and flip-flops. Any educator can stress the importance of professional dress - particularly for those critical first impressions - without an outright ban. And a ban that supposedly teaches "professionalism" looks even more stupid when students are pointing out that their teachers wear flip-flops as well.

Assuming risk of injury is part of growing up. I can't even fathom how a school board would think this was significant enough to consider. And on the heels of the War on Fluffernutter... the educrats have hit the top of the septic tank yet continue to dig.

And now back to my regularly scheduled Stanley Cup game...

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