School attire a tricky call

Don Heinzman
ECM Columnist

When Minnetonka High School Principal David Adney sent parents a notice about what high school girls were wearing to school last fall, he never thought it would become a national news story.

National media reported the email Adney sent to parents in October when girls started to wear fashionable trendy tight fitting leggings and shorter tops to school.

His most memorable quote to the Minneapolis Star and Tribune was: “Cover your butts up…We are seeing too much.”

Adney says the call for modesty got the attention of parents and students.

Ninety-nine percent of the parents who sent emails from all over the country agreed with Adney and commended him for bringing the matter out into the open. He even received a message from a principal in Australia.

The reaction through the social media surprised Adney. He wasn’t looking for attention; he merely wanted to remove any distractions in order to make a better learning environment for his students.

Actually, female students and female teachers had first complained to him about the trendy clothes the girls were wearing.

Students for the most part accepted the dress code enforcement and now the girls are wearing appropriate attire.

Adney says he isn’t trying to take their fashion individuality away.

Would the learning atmosphere be better if the students wore uniforms?

Adney says there’s no research that shows students who wear uniforms do better in school.

Christi Seiple-Cold disagrees. She is director of the International School of Minnesota, bordering Minnetonka, where the students wear burgundy and gray uniforms. She says there are a lot of studies that conclude kids do better in classes when they wear uniforms.

“Students worry more about their studies and not about what they are wearing,” she said. “They are less competitive and more cooperative.”

Every fall, Adney sends a letter to parents telling them to buy school clothes for their students, not “summer” clothes.

This holiday season parents should keep Adney’s message in mind when they buy school clothes as gifts — school clothes, not summer clothes.