As I scanned “The Denver Post” this morning (September 20, 2018), two articles caught my attention.
One article, from the Associate Press, was titled “California district is the latest to redo “sexist” school dress code.” The article begins by noting that “The relaxed new dress code at public schools in the small city of Alameda, across the bay from San Francisco, is intentionally specific: Midriff-baring shirts are acceptable attire, so are tank tops with spaghetti straps and other once-banned items like micro-mini skirts and short shorts.” Pajamas? They are OK. Students said that the previous rules “against too much skin disproportionately targeted girls, while language calling such attire “distracting” sent the wrong message”. A fourteen-year-old freshman is quoted as noting that “If someone is wearing a short shirt and you can see her stomach, it’s not her fault that she’s distracting other people.”
An unrelated editorial page commentary was authored by the Denver district attorney. The subject of the article concerned sentencing guidelines for serious juvenile offenders. She noted, “There is a great deal of scientific research demonstrating that the adolescent brain is not fully developed until ages 25 or 26; the last areas to develop control impulses and judgement.”
An ongoing major news story concerns accusations against a judicial nominee. A female accuser has indicated a repressed memory involving this nominee, alleging that some 35 years ago when they were teens they were at a party, where abundant alcohol was consumed, and he attempted to sexually assault her. The allegation has been vigorously denied and has yet to be in any way corroborated. The nominee is by all accounts an adult of high character and ability.
Perhaps there is no connection between these three subjects. Perhaps there is. Perhaps adults need to emphasize to young people that character and deportment really do matter.