Should National Education roll up its sleeves and tighten the screw?

Crop tops, crop tops, sock slippers… the outfits are causing chaos at school. Symptomatic of the time or recurring problem?

The recent ban on the combination sock tap – what some would call bad taste – at a university in Seine-Saint-Denis has exposed the thorny issue of clothing in school.

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Returning to the carpet with each new school year, this endless debate deserves attention because, in addition to the usual standards imposed by the regulations specific to each institution, it represents a social problem.

Photo credit: Istock

Appropriate clothing mandatory at schools

Clothing bans are not new and, with very rare exceptions, students have always followed, if not really accepted them.

However, it is not uncommon these days for students to rebel against rules that they find sometimes outdated, sometimes unfair or even downright sexist.

This was particularly the case at the start of the 2021 school year when Jean-Michel Blanquer, then Minister of National Education, spoke out against young girls wearing the crop top (short T-shirt revealing the navel), and he urged the latter. to wear outfits called ” republicans “.

A view that had angered many teenage girls, so much so that some observers believed they were discovering traces of a childhood markedly less docile than before. It must be said that these conflicts, which seem more like a clash of generations, inevitably raise questions about the habits and customs of a time when ultra-connected students have access to explicit content earlier and earlier, which, intentionally or unintentionally, can lead to to wearing outfits that some do not hesitate to consider indecent.

But apart from the – very real – problem of the hypersexualization of the youngest, conveyed by increasingly messy series and other films, it is above all the question of the violation that must be dealt with!

In short, has this dispute not always existed, in different forms, according to time and changes in society?

Each of us has been told at least once about our attire in school, starting with caps and other headgear, banned in the name of courtesy.

So is it really a current issue that the school needs to solve quickly or just a spurious debate that keeps cropping up over time?

Photo credit: Istock

Should schools adapt to the times?

You should know that, contrary to popular belief, there is no law in France imposing a dress code on establishments. Only the wearing of religious symbols is prohibited under Article L.141-5-1 of the Education Code.

It is therefore the schools themselves that set the rules to maintain public order according to the safety and hygiene criteria, and these differ from school to school.

These internal regulations for proper clothing are dictated by moral and social principles. However, the morals and society of yesterday are no longer those of today.

For example, is wearing a crop top as shocking today as it used to be? Does the tap dance really endanger the physical integrity of the students, as it was intended for them at the Elsa-Triolet college in Saint-Denis? Nothing is less certain and yet these are the invoked grounds for prohibition.

At the same time, it cannot be denied that the primary role of the school is to prepare children for adult life, and thus for professional life, rightly or wrongly. ” A standardization company », as Jean-François Amadieu, professor at the Panthéon Sorbonne University, calls him. The imposition of a framework is therefore an integral part of the competences of schools.

But should this framework remain fixed or evolve with the society it is supposed to embody?

Should the rules adapt to the times, or be stricter and ignore context, risking a return to wearing school uniforms, which some have long asked for?

Great debate!

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