Christian speaker and author Josh McDowell says, "Rules without relationships lead to rebellion."
I've recalled this phrase many times as an educator and principal. In fact, just last month it came to mind when I received a "Petition for our Shorts Back" from the fifth- and sixth-graders during our first Dress as You Like Day (DAYL).
At the end of last year, the "no athletic shorts" rule was added to our DAYL dress code. There were many questions and much feedback from parents and students regarding what was appropriate. That feedback as well as the petition made me realize that we needed to revisit the new rule.
After discussions among teachers, staff, and administrators, we realized that we just needed to specify that shorts must be Bermuda length and that athletic shorts are fine as long as they meet the criteria.
The fifth- and sixth-graders looked a little scared when I walked down the hall that day, petition in hand, looking for the student who created it. But, there was no reason for them to be. I was impressed with the respect and maturity they showed in expressing their disagreement with the new rule, and I wanted to thank the students who created and signed it.
My relationship with students is far more important to me than any dress code rule. We support them, we respect them, and we listen to them.
So, students will be happy to know that athletic shorts will be allowed for future DAYL days!