To Teachers Who Give Students Detention for Wearing Flip Flops

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This is a letter about injustice. This is a letter about logic. This is a letter about feet. The very fact that those three words can be put into a dramatic context is pretty ridiculous, when you think about it. But then again, wouldn’t that make a rule regarding shoes equally ridiculous and unjust?

What rule is this, you ask? It’s the rule that got me a trash bag, a singular rubber glove (if that isn’t demoralizing, than I don’t know what is) and a bad attitude. Yes, I’m the girl who wore the flip flops and got a UV.

And let me tell ya–that one hurt. I can take the hit when I forget my polo on a mass day. Like, you got me there. But a DETENTION over shoes? Let’s brainstorm how this rule could possibly make sense.

Lets start with the reasoning I received when I was given my two-letter sentencing: “It’s unsanitary to forgo the wearing of socks, especially if there was an emergency.” If that is the case, then why can teachers wear their oh-so-cute summer sandals? Look down at your sockless feet, teachers: hypocrisy might lie between your very toes!

If you think our feet might get cold, think again. We are from California. The sunny, golden, people-from-Nebraska-think-everyone-lives-walking-distance-from-the beach state. Flip flops fit us like a glove. They’re practically a cultural garment. Requiring that we forgo wearing this oh-so-important article of clothing might cause a, dare I say it, identity crisis?

In fact, Katy Perry’s 2010 jam “California Gurls” is the song of our spirits. If you look it up, the royalties (practically) belong ⅓ to Katy, ⅓ to Snoop Dogg, and ⅓ to the California girls themselves. If we are on the topic of laws, there’s probably a state law somewhere that promises the right to wavy-beach hair, tan-skin, and yes, flip flops.

Spare me of the argument that they aren’t “professional” enough. We all know that Pres likes to shoot for the “business casual” of uniforms, adding rules like “if you want to wear sweats, just add a polo with it!” That said, much of our uniform policy has already killed this goal. I dare you to make an argument that our thigh-length, plaid skirts are professional. Or that a sweatsuit and Uggs are preparing us to rock the business world. I think we can agree that the flip flops aren’t what’s killing the professional vibe.

This is not a question of rules. This is a question of how long Pres girls will stand this denial of  basic fashion rights. We cannot live out who we need to – no – who we were born to be without flip flops. Let us be ourselves, let us be free, let us wear our flip flops.

Yours truly,

Students standing up for imprisoned toes

RESPONSE FROM A PRESENTATION TEACHER: 

To Students Who Have Received Detention for Flip Flops:

I write this letter first to point out how much we, the faculty and administration of Presentation High School, love and care for your personal well being. This is why we have poured hours into creating a uniform code that will not only help you look your best, but also protect you from danger.

Take your plaid skirt. If you find yourself stranded on the second story of the new building, you could easily use it as a parachute when jumping to safety. If you find yourself being attacked by someone shooting darts at the back of your neck, your wide collar polo offers the kind of cushioning that you need to spare injury. Of course, having a closed toe shoe is up there with all of the other safety features your uniform provides. In order to help you understand why flip flops are an extremely dangerous type of footwear, I will tell you a story from my own past.

It was two days before my twentieth birthday, and I was visiting Paris while living abroad in Germany. I, myself a California girl, delighted at the chance to leave the freezing cold of Germany and experience the warm spring air of Paris. I smartly made the decision to wear my flip flops in the fashion capital of the world because I could not stand one more day of having my feet bound by a closed toe shoe.

Once away from my hotel and on to a day of sightseeing, I immediately regretted this decision. Talk about underdressed. I felt like I was wearing shorts at Prom! But it gets worse . . . that day it poured. If you have ever walked on cobblestone in the rain, you know how slippery it is. Here I was, in the prime of my life as an almost twenty year old in the world’s most beautiful city, slipping on every stone like a toddler learning how to walk. It was a long, treacherous day and by the time I returned home, I had sworn off flip flops in situations that did not involve sand and a lot of sun.

Now, maybe you are thinking, “that sounds exactly like California – sand and a lot of sun, thus making Pres the perfect place to wear flip flops.” And you might be right. However, you take for granted that Pres girls never spill anything. I cannot tell you how much Starbucks money has been wasted on the floors of my classroom. “Mrs. Ursin, do you have any paper towels? I just spilled my Venti Caramel Frappuccino all over the floor.” “Mrs. Ursin, do you have any paper towels? I just dropped my plastic cup and it cracked and is leaking water everywhere.” “Mrs. Ursin, do you have any paper towels? My soda can fell out of my hand and is spinning out of control, spraying everything in sight.” “Mrs. Ursin, do you have any paper towels? I just dropped a jar of homemade jam my mom sent me to give Ms. Miller.” (By the way, these are all real questions that I have been asked.)

Ladies, Pres is a dangerous place. I say until we ban beverages on campus, Pres will never be considered safe enough for a flip flop. Every time you put on your uniform and slip your foot into an authorized shoe, it should be a moment for you to consider the love and care we, the faculty and staff of your beloved high school, have for you, our dear students.

Sincerely,

Mrs. Ursin