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Tennessee lawmaker proposes 'parent dress codes' in local schools

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A Tennessee lawmaker wants school districts to come up with a code of conduct for parents while they're on school campuses. Not only would this code address behavior, it would also outline a dress code for parents.

State Representative Antonio Parkinson introduced the legislation after he says principals described a few less than professional parents.

“We have one that mentioned a parent coming in with lingerie on and body parts still visible to everyone and that was a big concern,” Representative Parkinson said.

But, former teacher and Executive Director of Professional Educators of Tennessee J.C. Bowman says this could close the door on parent engagement.

“If you start putting in dress codes you're gonna think, particularly low-income people, may feel like that they're not dressed well enough to go to the classroom. They don't want to embarrass their kids,” Bowman said.

The proposal would leave it up to the districts to decide just what's included in the dress code. FOX 17 News talked to parents who think any type of dress code is overreach and unreasonable.

“Kids see their parents at home with God knows what on, so I don't think that that has anything to do with anything,” mother Shay Odom said.

“I mean, no they shouldn't wear or show up in like miniskirts, but you can't tell me I can't wear yoga pants, stuff like that,” mother Tabitha Baker-Bryant said.

However, Representative Parkinson says it's not about telling parents what they can and can't wear, it's about setting a standard.

“What we're trying to do is just make sure that our institutions of education are respected and that our children are protected,” Representative Parkinson said.

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The bill is still in the drafting phase, but is expected to be introduced in the next couple of weeks.

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