Can students wear sweatpants to school?

A school in Baden-Württemberg wants to ban sweatpants from the classroom. Many institutions have dress codes. But how far can the school intervene in freedom rights?

  • A Catholic school in Hamburg wants to see neither underwear nor too much bare skin in its students.
  • A school in the northern Black Forest caused a sensation in the summer with a ban on hot pants.
  • Now sweatpants should also be taboo in the classroom - a pro-con discussion:

A school campus in Schwieberdingen near Stuttgart in Swabia wants to banish baggy pants. In some private schools, dress codes and uniforms are part of everyday life. However, educational researchers and teachers disagree: How useful are dress codes?

For some, dress rules are a suitable means of curbing brand fetishism among young people. For others, the freedom of the individual is more important.

Against sweatpants: "School is not a chill-out zone"

Headmistress Ilse Riedl is sure of her cause. For years she has not tolerated sweatpants at the Hermann Butzer School, which is attended by elementary, secondary and junior high school students. “The school is not a chill-out zone,” says the teacher. The school is a workplace - this should also be made clear in the school rules.

For her colleague Sandra Vöhringer at the neighboring community school, Riedl has meanwhile become a role model. There, too, the baggy trousers should be on the index. Clothing also has something to do with attitude, Vöhringer told the German Press Agency on Tuesday.

Contrasting sweatpants: clear rules create equality

The education researcher Klaus Hurrelmann from the Hertie School of Governance Berlin says that the discussion about dress rules is part of good school culture. In his opinion, sweatpants don't fit into the classroom, where you practice a certain performance behavior. "I think dress codes make a lot of sense."

Debates about who wears which pants sometimes seem superficial and petty. But Hurrelmann sees this as a hook for important questions such as: "Do we want to be guided by the fashion world, advertising?"

In his opinion, students enjoy having clear rules that, in the best case scenario, they have negotiated and can support. "That gives security because equality prevails."

Pro jogging pants: basic right to freedom of expression

Education is a matter of the country, but students all over Germany have the basic right to free personal development. A ban on jogging pants can therefore not be justified from the point of view of the Ministry of Culture in Stuttgart. Teachers' personal tastes should not be used as a guideline for student clothing in public schools.

Gerhard Brand from the federal board of the Association of Education and Upbringing (VBE) says: "It is really a problem that students often appear in school in provocative clothing." To prevent this, schools could reach a consensus in their mission statement or in the school conference find which items of clothing are not welcomed. In his experience, however, the personal conversation, in which one appeals to the student's reason, is still most fruitful. Prohibitions could not stand in the courts.

Pro sweatpants: the state should not prescribe aesthetics

The VBE state spokesman from Baden-Württemberg, Michael Gomolzig, says: "If you pursue individual learning, you can't put the students in a uniform." The intention of the school in Schwieberdingen is understandable, but the problem cannot be solved with a catalog of rules to solve. The students' insight is important.

The state parents' representative in Baden-Württemberg, Carsten Rees, also rejects dress codes: “What kind of interest does the state have in decreeing aesthetics? None! ”Such regulations approach totalitarian systems.

In private schools, students wanted a dress code

Private schools are free to prescribe certain clothing or a uniform. In the internationally known boarding school in Salem on Lake Constance, there is a mandatory dress code with shirts and sweaters in the school colors blue and white.

"Interestingly enough, the pupils wanted that themselves," says headmaster Bernd Westermeyer. “They were unhappy with the brand madness. That was clearly a stress factor for the children. ”The students think it is nice to show themselves as a community.

Not in your sweatpants for an interview

With her ban on sweatpants, however, the headmistress Riedl has less of an eye on the fashion mania. She sees it as her task to give her students the tools they need for life. She fears: If you never learn that sweatpants are not appropriate at work, you may go to an interview with them and be surprised that you will not get an apprenticeship position.

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