With dress code violations in public schools becoming an increasing subject of national debate, scrutiny could soon be directed from the students to the front of the classroom. On Sept. 14, Detroit-based radio show “Mojo in the Morning” posted a photo on Facebook of an anonymous fourth grade teacher, who was told by her employers that the outfit she wore was inappropriate. They requested she never wear it to school again.
While the name of the school has been kept quiet, the topic clearly struck a sartorial nerve. Facebook users erupted in discussion, both championing and condemning the woman’s attire, leaving over 2,400 comments in 24 hours.
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Outfitted in a pale gray, cap sleeve, cowl neck dress with a flared skirt, cinched at the waist with a skinny black leather belt, the teacher topped off the look with black tights and over the knee, black leather, high-heeled boots. Whether or not the look was suitable for the classroom, the only skin evidently visible was her arms and neck above the collarbone.
The look's most hotly debated element was the boots, which some even likened to those Julia Roberts wore in “Pretty Woman”.
“I think the dress is fine, the boots are cute but thigh-high heels are not what you should be wearing to teach…those are more for a night out with your girls,” wrote one user.
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“This is ridiculous that anyone thinks her shoes defines her outfit in a professional setting. They are healed shoes, not sandals, not open toe, not clown shoes, and she is teaching 4th grade. Not overly-hormonal high school boys,” a male teacher fired back.
Parents of young children were quick to weigh in, stating that they thought the woman looked comfortable and put together.
“Looks like a lot of the teacher's at my son's school. Absolutely fine. Most of them are 20's or young 30's. I don't expect them to dress like little house on the prairie lol,” commented one mother. “The moms who complained are probably the ones who drop off their kids in their pajamas anyway,” added another.
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One user chided the entire group for blowing up the topic to viral proportions.
“It's the adults, parents and staff, who think she looks like something other than a fourth grade teacher. Grow up and don't become part of the problem that is projected on to the kids; fourth grade kids aren't thinking like that, unless they are being taught it AT HOME,” she wrote.
Whether or not the outfit was fit for an elementary school teacher to wear to work, the uproar this little gray dress sparked could further blur the fine dress code lines for professional educators.