According to State Representative Antonio Parkinson, the idea for the legislation, which includes a code of conduct for parents and visitors as well, came after speaking with school principals who were concerned about inappropriate attire.
“We have one [complaint] that mentioned a parent coming in with lingerie on and body parts still visible to everyone and that was a big concern,” Parkinson said in an interview with The Daily Memphian. “You think about what that does to the learning environment, what it does to the child … and what it does to the other children and how they respond to the child whose parent is in there exposed.”
Parkinson stressed that the bill is in the best interest of both the children and the schools themselves. He told Fox 17 News, “What we’re trying to do is just make sure that our institutions of education are respected and that our children are protected.”
Reactions to the new legislation are mixed. While some parents and school administrators support Parkinson’s proposal, others argue that the policing in schools has gone too far. “That’s what we need, more government interference in peoples lives,” one dad said on social media. “If Sally’s mom wants to wear her PJ’s to school leave her alone.”
However, Parkinson explained to The Daily Memphian that “I’m not trying to tell them what to wear. I’m just saying, look, there’s a certain level of decorum that needs to be adhered to when you’re dealing with our institutions of education.”
The bill is currently being drafted and is expected to be introduced in the coming weeks.