1. GA-English
  2. News

What to wear in the heat: Bonn schools discuss dress code

What to wear in the heat : Bonn schools discuss dress code

The schools in Bonn attach great importance to appropriate clothing even in hot weather. Student representatives, however, take a critical view of the strict regulations.

The last weeks before the testimony conferences were a kind of torture: Tropical temperatures close to the 40 degree mark made life difficult for pupils and teachers. When it’s back to school after the holidays at the end of August, it can be very hot again. And while some offices are cooled down by air conditioning, there are at best roller shutters in classrooms that hardly block out the heat.

With rising temperatures, however, many students become less willing to dress appropriately. In flip-flops, tank tops, hot pants, muscle shirts, swimming shorts or low-cut tops they sometimes appear in class. Schools, however, are attaching increasing importance to appropriate clothing - in all weathers.

The Sankt-Adelheid-Gymnasium in Pützchen does not have a prohibition list for outfits. But: "We have made an agreement with the students. This agreement stipulates that everyone should dress in such a way that they treat their classmates and teachers with respect," explains headmaster Egbert Bachner. This is a "component of the rules for well-being" that apply at the Gymnasium in Beuel and must be observed by the girls.

Strictly formulated guidelines do not exist at the Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Gymnasium either. "We make sure, however, that our pupils are adequately dressed," says Simone Bröcker, deputy head of the grammar school in the Weststadt. Previously, colleagues would hardly have had to intervene because a top was too short or shorts too tight. Should it happen, however, the students would be approached and told what effect clothing can have.

"As an inclusive, intercultural and international school, it goes without saying that we protect and respect personal rights. We do not accept representations on clothes that are racist, sexist, glorifying violence, discriminatory, radically religious or glorifying drugs," says the clothing recommendation, which is valid at Bonn's Fifth Comprehensive School. The clothing should be "appropriate to the objective and institution of the school as a whole". Further specifications: Belly and buttocks must be covered opaquely, and sportswear may only be worn in sports lessons. "The rest is a matter of taste," says the school's homepage.

The Otto-Kühne-Schule in Bad Godesberg does not have any problems with overly revealing summer clothing. "Our house rules state that we expect appropriate clothing. Our students adhere to them. There haven't been any problems so far", says Hildegard Clarenz-Löhnert of the school management. If the outfit is too daring, the teachers talk directly to the students.This is how it is handled at the Hauptschule St. Hedwig in the north of Bonn. So far everything has been "green", reports headmistress Silvia Rigoll. "If it's too tight or too revealing, we just have to talk. But that's been the exception so far.“

Anyone who nevertheless comes to class provokingly or lightly dressed cannot expect to go home earlier. In most schools there is a pool of oversized T-shirts that they have to put on. "And these shirts really aren't pretty," says a headmistress from Bonn and laughs.

In order to prevent conflicts, Wibke Poth, deputy chairwoman of the Education and Education Association (VBE) in North Rhine-Westphalia, recommends that the school's mission statement or the school conference should contain rules on which items of clothing are undesirable. "It is effective and instructive when everyone exchanges ideas about possible rules," she says. This creates understanding and sensitises people to an appropriate appearance. If teachers, students and their parents make a decision together, an effective dress code is likely.

This does not go down well with the pupils. Moritz Bayerl takes a critical view of dress codes at schools. The 18-year-old is a member of the board of the Landesschülervertretung NRW. "We are fundamentally opposed to restrictions on the freedom of students. Only if the clothing restricts the rights of others, for example by an insulting or discriminatory imprint, should there be bans," says Bayerl. "But we don't see any problem with belly tops or sweatpants."

(Original text: Gabriele Immenkeppel, Translation: Mareike Graepel)