A Closer Look at Celebratory Clothing in the School Environment

Kids often attend weekend parties and a receive T-shirt or some other novelty that publicizes they attended the event, such as “Karly’s Sweet 16″ or “Johnny’s Bar Mitzah.” The kids sport their clothing to school the following week, but some schools are having to consider whether they should ban students from wearing celebratory clothing to school. Reasons for the ban include the feelings of exclusion from other students who are reminded that they were not invited to these events. Some schools also say this is another form of bullying. This article does not take either side, but gives a unique perspective on students wearing celebratory clothing from another student’s event.

The Effect on the Social Aspect of School

The kids who were not invited to their classmates’ party or other events may feel “left out or excluded” when fellow classmates arrive to school with a cool monogrammed shirt that says they attended so and so’s Bar Mitz Vah, birthday party or whatever. Not only is this a reminder to the student he or she was not invited to the event, but it notifies all the other students too. This can be embarrassing to students who already have trouble coping with not being part of the “popular” crowd.

On the other hand, is this really a major issue that deserves so much media attention? Does students wearing celebratory clothing deserve national attention while kids are still committing suicide over physical and cyber-bullying? The students and their parents have not gotten over giving out “goody bags” at parties, so they make T-shirts and other items since their high schooler is a little too old to be giving out goody bags at his party. The parents probably did not realize the celebratory items would cause problems at school. I am sure their only intention was to create memories of the event for everyone, and of course because they miss the goody bags.

Schools may be for academic purposes, but the social side that comes with attending school will always create problems, some that can be ignored or easily dealt with and some that cannot.

Is celebratory clothing an issue schools should focus their attention on? Do you think it’s something of mere concern that kids should get over?

Well, if wearing celebratory clothing at school creates feelings of exclusion, being left out, bullying, etc. that affects the learning environment, shouldn’t schools evaluate similar issues like the huge discrepancies in students displaying affordability? For example, at every school, you have the sophomores who get brand new cars on their 16th birthday. There is always a handful of students who arrive at school with the latest model BMW or some other high-priced luxury car while their classmates drive a hand-me-down from their older sibling. That is, if they are that lucky. Obviously, it would be quite difficult for school authorities to dictate what type of car a parent buys his or her child, but the idea of exclusion is similar to that of students wearing celebratory clothing. Think about it.

Celebratory Clothing & The Effect on Students Academic Performance

Does celebratory clothing affect academic performance? During class, a student is reading the back of the student’s shirt in front of her that says, “Karly’s Sweet 16. A Blast.” The students will stray away from the lecture and her mind will be on what happened at the party, why she wasn’t invited, how cool the party was, how Jane Doe got invited instead of him, etc. This distraction could affect his school work for a day, a week or whenever he sees one of his peers wearing that shirt.

On the other hand, there are tons of other things going on at schools that cause distractions that can be compared and contrasted to students wearing celebratory clothing during school. (dating & relationships, class clowns, dress code violations, etc.)

Many students don’t take advantage of the counselor services at their school. If a student wearing a shirt creates a negative impact on their academic performance, they should consult the school counselor for a private discussion.

In college, every other sorority girl will wear a shirt publicizing an event that the other 30,000 students on campus were not invited to because only the sorority girls and their dates can attend. Why don’t people complain? Because people really don’t care. Well, the girl who didn’t get a bid for that sorority may hate to see someone walk by with the sorority shirt, but she probably won’t let it allow her grades to suffer.

Is celebratory clothing in high school or middle school any different than the here-and-there feelings of others who for instance didn’t make the cheerleading or basketball team and have to see their classmates wear the team jackets, shirts or uniforms to school?

Some may believe that this is a minor issue and students should just learn to accept it. For instance, at school, kids always have to deal with not being picked for a group project, the cool person walking past their seat on the bus for a field trip, not being part of a sports team, not being in the “it” crowd, not sitting at the cool table at lunch, etc., and all these are instances of the normal isolation and negative social aspect that comes with going to public school.

A Unique Perspective for Celebratory Clothing in Schools

If a school has issues with students wearing celebratory clothing and its effect on other students, it should evaluate the physical appearance of students in its entirety. The school should evaluate the feelings of isolation and exclusion of students who can not afford the True Religion jeans, Gucci shirt or authentic Chanel purse their peers proudly rock. The students who don’t wear generics, sometimes referred to as knock-offs, get picked on harshly. This is not a good feeling, especially when their parents are struggling just to put food on the table.

Furthermore, school officials should focus on its dress code in general. Kids waste a lot of time and energy at school getting upset about the girl who got away with wearing the mini skirt when they just got sent home for wearing one last week. This is just one dress code situation that causes issues and keeps students’ focus off academics.

Essentially, it is impossible to make everyone happy. You can’t satisfy hundreds of students and their parents/guardians with every problem the school atmosphere creates. An easy solution for the celebratory clothing outrage coupled with the discrepancies in students displaying household income (i.e. cars, brand name clothing) would be to simply implement a school uniform policy.

Schools could even require the parents to have a business sponsor the shirts where the logo of the business is on the back. That way the emphasis of the shirt is not solely on the birthday party or celebratory event but also on the advertising and promoting of a local business.

Kids Asked to Leave Celebratory Clothing at Home

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