“He’s Wearing A Shirt That Shows Nudity”: Mom Maliciously Complies With Her Son’s School Dress Code After He’s Sent Home Interview
Ah, the infamous school dress code. No showing your shoulders, no wearing short shorts, no wearing open-toe shoes, and, of course, no featuring Bruce Lee on your shirt!
We all know schools tend to go overboard with their dress code rules, but there’s often nothing students can do aside from bite their tongues and cover up. However, one creative mother recently shared a story on the Malicious Compliance subreddit detailing how she reacted after her son was sent home for wearing a shirt with “nudity” on it. Below, you’ll find the mom’s full story, as well as some of the replies amused readers left and a conversation between her and Bored Panda.
School dress codes are notorious for being unnecessarily strict
Image credits: Daniel Andraski (not the actual photo)
So after this woman’s son was sent home for dressing “inappropriately”, she decided to turn his shirt into an art project
Image source: Nanerpus_is_my_Homie
Image credits: RDNE Stock project (not the actual photo)
Later, the mom responded to several comments and provided additional information on the situation
“While I understand the desire for school dress codes, I really think only actual, serious issues should be addressed”
To learn more about this specific situation, we reached out to the mother who shared this story on Reddit, Nanerpus_is_my_Homie. Lucky for us, she was kind enough to have a chat with Bored Panda and explain why she decided to share this story now. “Enough time had passed that I wouldn’t face any backlash for discussing it,” she explained. “At the time, I was a teacher myself (although in a different school). Teachers generally are forced to be ‘on board’ with school rules, even if we don’t agree with them. The incident was somewhat specific, so it would have been traced back to me easily. I have since left the teaching profession and now work a corporate job, so I don’t need to worry about any scrutiny.”
The mother also shared that this was the one and only time her son ever got in trouble for dress code during his school years. “At the time, he often wore lots of crazy, funny shirts, but they were never anything I would have considered offensive,” she added. “Just either funny or ‘cool’ shirts in his opinion.”
We were also curious how Nanerpus_is_my_Homie came up with the brilliant idea to give Bruce a bikini. “When we were driving home, I was having a laugh about how anyone thought a topless Bruce Lee was offensive,” she shared. “I am a late Gen-X myself, and though he was a bit before my generation, he was still considered a cult icon. So mainstream that I didn’t think it would shock anyone.”
Image credits: Polina Tankilevitch (not the actual photo)
“On the ride home, we laughed and I said ‘What do they expect, Bruce to wear a bikini for modesty?’ and the lightbulb went off,” the mother continued. “We had a good laugh, discussed how ridiculous it would be if he was wearing a bikini top, and off to the craft store we went before even going home. My son was all for it and loved the idea. He wore that shirt until he grew out of it. It was one of his favorites, and it always got lots of smiles and questions in public. He loved telling the story about how he was sent home for ‘nudity at school’ to anyone that asked about it.”
As far as what Nanerpus_is_my_Homie thinks of dress codes in general, she told Bored Panda, “While I understand the desire for school dress codes, I really think only actual, serious issues (which breach common sense) should be addressed. To be fair, we weren’t upset about him being sent home. We just thought it was silly and ridiculous, so we wanted to respond to the ‘problem’ in a silly and ridiculous manner.” She added that she has to give the school credit for gender equality though, as the outcome was the same as if he had gone to school with a topless woman on his shirt. “So I guess in hindsight, it was ‘progressive’ thinking for the time,” the mom noted.
“We’re tickled everyone had a laugh, and I’ve enjoyed hearing all the stories from people who also chimed in about their ridiculous dress code violations”
“We had no idea anyone would have been interested in our little crafting adventure from 2014, but we’re tickled everyone had a laugh and I’ve enjoyed hearing all the stories from people who also chimed in about their ridiculous dress code violations,” Nanerpus_is_my_Homie went on to share. “Now that he is older, we are going to recreate the shirt, as a fun gift to him, as well as make him a more ‘adult’ version since he’s an adult now, and create a new Bruce Lee shirt with pasties with tassels hanging off them that move.”
“No disrespect to the late Mr. Lee, of course,” the mother added. “He remains an idol to my son who still has a Bruce Lee lamp in his bedroom today. Bruce was an amazing man with a charming personality and a great sense of humor. We bet he would get a real kick out of what we did and probably also think that it was ridiculous.”
Nanerpus_is_my_Homie added that her only complaint about the whole scenario is that the school should have given her more information and context when they called. “When I asked, they simply said, ‘He’s wearing something that displays nudity,’ and nothing more. You can imagine how my mind went wandering as to what in the heck he could have worn. I pulled into the parking lot ready to read my kid the Riot Act. They made it sound as if he was wearing some full on pictorial of a Tijuana donkey show. Imagine my relief when it was just a bare chested Bruce Lee.”
Image credits: Tima Miroshnichenko (not the actual photo)
Dress codes are common practice, but they’re often criticized for disproportionately targeting girls and minorities
Dress codes have been the subject of plenty of controversy over the past few decades. According to Gitnux, about 55% of public schools and 65% of private schools in the United States enforce dress codes. It’s unlikely that they’re going anywhere any time soon either, as 80% of school administrators believe they “positively affect student behavior,” and 72% of parents agree that these rules benefit their children. The students, on the other hand, often don’t feel as optimistic about their school’s dress codes. 58% of students who were affected by their school’s enforcement of dress code rules report experiencing negative feelings. Yet they don’t always know how to avoid being dress coded, when the parameters are of the school’s rules are vague. Apparently, only one fifth of public schools in the US actually have clearly defined and enforced dress code policies.
And while the student in this particular story who was dress coded was a boy, many dress codes disproportionately target girls. According to The Grizzly Growler, girls are 5.5 times more likely than boys to be suspended for school due to dress code issues, and they’re often told they must dress a certain way so as not to “distract” boys. US News reports that more than 90% of dress code rules specifically target clothing typically worn by girls, such as halter or spaghetti strap tops, short skirts and shorts, and yoga pants or any sort of tight clothing. Many believe that these rules sexualize young girls and make them feel uncomfortable in their learning environment.
Apparently, about 60% of dress code rules also require staff members to measure students’ bodies and clothing to ensure that they comply, such shorts that must have at least a 5-inch inseam and skirts that cannot fall more than two inches above the knee. This can cause adult staff to touch their students, making young girls feel less safe at school. Dress codes often unfairly target minority racial or cultural groups as well, with some banning head coverings such as bandanas and scarves and others prohibiting certain hairstyles such as dreadlocks or cornrows.
We would love to hear your thoughts on this story in the comments below, pandas. Would you have responded in the same way that this mother did, or do you believe that a shirtless Bruce Lee has no place in the classroom? Feel free to share, and then if you’re interested in checking out another Bored Panda article discussing school dress codes, look no further than right here.