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Texas School Adds Coronavirus Masks to Dress Code

In the misty haze of memory, I can’t recall if it was a mid-80s surge of mini-skirts or just an April heat wave that had everyone wearing shorts to school, but once upon a time, my alma mater, Madison High School, issued an edict requiring that the bottom half of our clothing reach to our knees. Naturally, i responded by rolling my blue jeans up to right below my knees and daring Assistant Principal Dan Barker to bust me. (Capris for Men, Madison, South Dakota, 1987—I always have been a fashion leader.)

But you know, if schools can mandate that kids cover their knees and shoulders and other sexy places to prevent an outbreak of boneritis, why can’t they require the covering of mouths and noses to prevent other more contagious hazards to public health?

Such is the thinking of the Independent (yeah, capitalize that word for this story) School District of Paris, Texas, which is defying covid-positive Governor Greg Abbott‘s prohibition on mask requirements by writing masks into its dress code:

The Board of Trustees is concerned about the health and safety of its students and employees. The Board believes the dress code can be used to mitigate communicable health issues, and therefore has amended the PISD dress code to protect our students and employees. The Texas Governor does not have the authority to usurp the Board of Trustees’ exclusive power and duty to govern and oversee the management of the public schools of the district. Nothing in the Governor’s Executive Order 38 states he has suspended Chapter 11 of the Texas Education Code, and therefore the Board has elected to amend its dress code consistent with its statutory authority [Paris ISD Board of Trustees, statement, in staff, “Paris, Texas School District Adds Face Masks to Dress Code; Defies Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s Order,” CBS Dallas–Fort Worth 21, 2021.08.18].

Madison’s cover-your-knees rule was arbitrary and not particularly effective (three words: teenage boys… imagination). But today’s mask rules in Paris and elsewhere will prevent sickness and death, not to mention help keep kids and teachers in school in person. A majority of Americans recognize this plain scientific fact. Let’s hope more schools follow the example of Paris, Texas, and not Rapid City, South Dakota, in protecting their children and public health from both coronavirus and from overreaching, undereducated Republicans.


  1. Donald Pay 2021-08-18

    I think it goes without saying that clothes are not optional at school. Your privates cannot dangle in free air walking from Biology to Debate. Most public schools give kids a lot of freedom to wear what they want, but school boards get asked to ban certain items of clothing. In my time on the Rapid City school board we were asked to ban spaghetti straps. Tank tops and various gang signs on clothing were already verboten.

    Public schools usually don’t mandate clothing, though some think uniforms should be required. Generally, those folks are on the side of the political spectrum. Schools can require items or actions for safety reasons.

  2. jerry 2021-08-18

    Rapid City school board/Taliban certainly does not give a hoot about school children. Why would they?

  3. Jake 2021-08-18

    Jerry, RCAS board/Taliban are more interested in showing their power! Their political instincts follow Noem’s, whose are all lined toward her interest in higher office. Serving the needs of the students/citizens to be in healthy surroundings not as important as making political statements.
    These very people that are anti-mask or anti-vax are the same ones, that if they smoked cigarettes when we outlawed smoking in public indoors would have insisted it was their “right” to smoke wherever they damned well pleased. That was not too many years ago in this ‘backward’ state of SD.
    Remember people? The “Non-Smoking” sections in restaurants/bars? Clouds of smoke! These vapors of virus are no different, in effect.

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