Atlanta school aide Patrice Brown
Photo: via Instagram
Photo: via Instagram

#TeacherBae questions: Can teachers really dress like that?

Editor's Note: Boyd Elementary School aide Patrice Brown posted photos on Instagram that went viral, including a houndstooth blouse with black pencil skirt, a knee-length dress with boots and college t-shirt and jeans, sparking a national discussion about appropriate classroom dress codes. Brown tried hard to quietly fade into the background as Atlanta Public Schools promised to handle the situation.

Original story: Selfies an Atlanta school aide has posted on Instagram have led to questions like: “Do you think Ms. Thicky Fine Teacher Bae dresses inappropriately for school?”

The questions were sparked by #teacherstyle outfits Boyd Elementary School aide Patrice Brown posted on Instagram including a houndstooth blouse with black pencil skirtknee-length dress with boots and college t-shirt and jeans.

Possibly relevant — or completely irrelevant — to this debate: Brown has curves that rival Nicki Minaj’s.

So can teachers really wear clothes like Brown’s to work?

Most school districts, including Atlanta Public Schools, have employee dress codes.

Atlanta’s employee dress code says that any employee “whose attire or dress is not professional in the opinion of the building administrator or supervisor shall be directed to conform to this policy.”

Acceptable attire includes business suits and pants suits, collared shirts, skirts, dresses, slacks, sweaters, blouses, knit tops, jackets, and sweatshirts and t-shirts with school insignia.

It also includes “coordinated dress shorts ensemble with appropriate shoes and hosiery.” (The policy was last updated in 1999.)

Unacceptable attire includes jeans, hats, oversized t-shirts, leggings, tank tops, see-through clothing, sundresses without jackets, “extremely low-cut dresses and blouses,” and “immodest dress such as dress which is too short (more than three inches above the knees), tight or otherwise revealing.”

The decision about what makes a dress “extremely low-cut” or “immodest” is up to a school’s principal.

Employee dress codes are discussed with principals at the start of the school year, school district spokeswoman Kimberly Willis Green said. Last year, the district’s human resources did not report any instances of employee discipline for dress code violations, but individual schools may have handled some.

While some media have reported that Brown has said that people should focus on educating children rather than her clothes, Green said Brown has not given any interviews.

Some photos have been removed from Brown’s Instagram page this week.

But Green said Brown has not faced any disciplinary action in connection with her clothing — or otherwise.

“She was given guidance regarding the APS Employee Dress Code, the use of social media, and Georgia Code of Ethics for educators, and she has been cooperative in addressing her presence on social media,” she said.

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