School dress codes for parents: Tennessee lawmaker planning bill | News Coverage from USA

School dress codes for parents: Tennessee lawmaker planning bill

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis lawmaker is working on a law that could require school districts to establish codes of conduct for parents. 

The codes would forbid campus visitors from showing up on campuses intoxicated and wearing clothing deemed inappropriate.

“I was talking to my principals when I got the real story,” Antonio Parkinson, a Democratic state representative, said. “There are parents who are showing up at schools in the office with lingerie on.”

Parkinson, whose district includes the Raleigh community, said it would be up to the school districts to devise their own policies.

Of course, school districts would have to avoid applying such policies in a discriminatory fashion — like requiring visitors to pull up sagging pants but not cover up short shorts. 

Parkinson said the response he’s received on his effort has been overwhelmingly positive.

“What we’re doing is creating a standard of awareness,” Parkinson said. 

But, not everyone is on board. Former teacher and Executive Director of Professional Educators of Tennessee J.C. Bowman said these rules could prevent parent engagement, Chattanooga TV station WTVC reports. 

“If you start putting in dress codes you’re gonna think, particularly low-income people, may feel like that they’re not dressed well enough to go to the classroom,” Bowman said. “They don’t want to embarrass their kids.”

In Memphis, nearly a quarter of the people are poor. 

Parkinson’s bill is still in the planning stages. If it’s passed by a full vote in July, it could go into affect across Tennessee as early as next year. 

Contributing: Ashley May, USA TODAY. Follow Tonyaa Weathersbee on Twitter: @tonyaajw

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