Cumberland Times-News

July 25, 2013

No jeans?

Dress code for teachers should be welcomed


Cumberland Times-News

— Who thinks public school teachers should wear blue jeans, faded jeans and shorts while in the classroom?

We doubt many of you would raise your hand in agreement. But a ban on such apparel is causing a ruckus in West Virginia.

The American Federation of Teachers in West Virginia is considering a lawsuit against the Lewis County school board for imposing a new dress code, which it says violates teachers’ constitutional rights.

The code — amended to ban blue jeans, faded jeans and shorts — was passed unanimously by the board Monday night.

Carmen Shafer, a Lewis County teacher, told television station WBOY 12 she was very disappointed in the decision.

“I think I give 200 percent of myself for this county, and I don’t feel like they have given me any respect back. … So I don’t understand why they are taking away the blue jeans,” she said.

“We’re disappointed in the actions of the board. We don’t believe it’s in the best interest of the teachers of Lewis County. We think it’s inconsistent with their statutory and constitutional rights. We’re going to explore all of our legal actions when we get back and take the next steps appropriate,” attorney from the West Virginia Chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, Jeff Blaydes, said at the meeting, according to WDTV.

Lewis County Board of Education President Paul Derico said the decision was made in order to respect both the teachers and the public, who he said have made comments about the way teachers dress. There is no shortage of classroom issues involving the education of our children — but one of them should not be teacher apparel.

Requiring teachers to dress professionally hardly seems out of line to us, and they shouldn’t have to be told to do so.

Teachers are far more likely to inspire respect from students when they are not dressed as casually as the students are. They’re in the classroom to be teachers ... not to dress and act like the students’ buddies.

Really, let’s put that energy into improving education. Leave the faded jeans and shorts in the closet until after classroom hours.