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I started my career in a junior high which also had a specific dress code. It was not quite as restrictive as the one I grew up with, but it helped a lot to have things in print. If you could let kids know you were paying attention to the small things, they often didn't test the boundaries of more important rules. At this point, the time was the early 1990's and saggy pants were all the rage with boys. Between this fashion statement and young ladies excited to show off their newly developed assets, we found the need to create a "No Cleavage" rule. We did have to explain this rule in more detail when we became a grades 6 - 8 school. There might not have been many opportunities for "top" cleavage displays, but plenty of undercleavage was still en vogue.
The district where I work now has nearly no dress code for students. It was a real shock to come here and discover that cleavage in all of its flavours wasn't banned from the classrooms. A few years ago, I begged the valedictorian at my school to buy a belt before college. Teachers had nicknamed her the "Queen of Crack." Working in a cooler climate means that the busty sort of cleavage isn't a problem much of the year...but make no mistake, there are plenty of sweet young things out there who are quite happy to pull out their spaghetti strap tops at the hint of sunshine. I fortunately haven't heard any stories similar to Coach Brown's of a parent claiming that their kid had a hot little body and should flaunt it. My guess is that it's only a matter of time.
I hadn't thought much about the "No Cleavage" rule for awhile---and then yesterday, CBS News posted this story about the controversy surrounding a similar rule that has been instituted in Arlington, Texas. Girls are now required to keep their girls covered during school hours. It appears that not everyone is in agreement with this new rule, although I'm not quite sure why. Perhaps there is a freedom of expression issue, but the fact is, most people don't get to wear whatever they want everywhere they want. Is it so much to ask that students and teachers don't have to see body parts they don't want or need to see during the few hours school is in session? Or is that too much of a Victorian expectation?
I doubt that we'll ever have a cleavage ban here. Schools are instead trying to define the kinds of clothes that are off-limits, as opposed to just simplifying things to "No cleavage (of any variety)." I'm all for keeping it simple...and keeping it covered.