Where is this health and safety thing going to end?

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That's the very reasonable question being asked by a parent who has been told that his kids have to wear clip on ties to school. The Daily Express reports,

A HEADMASTER has banned his pupils from wearing their knotted ties because he thinks they are a health and safety risk.

John Peckham has ordered the 1,500 children to wear the clip-on variety instead.

Those who ignore the rule and turn up with the traditional tie have been warned they will be sent home.

Last night the move was slammed as "political correctness gone mad and barmy" by parents and education experts. They say children have worn school ties for decades without any reported injuries.

But Mr Peckham claims pupils could suffer serious injury from trailing ties in science and woodwork lessons or from having their ties pulled by classmates.

School uniforms made of bubble wrap are next.

See my column on "The Culture of Fear" here.

Complete Daily Express article here.

Disclosure: I own no stocks in apparel companies and just sold my small holding of stock in a retail footwear chain (at a loss I regret to report). Furthermore, I rarely wear ties. I usually wear T-shirts that I buy on my various travels.

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  1. A HEADMASTER has banned his pupils from wearing their knotted ties because he thinks they are a health and safety risk.

    Excuse me? WTF?!

    How about the health and safety risk of being relegated to the ranks of the working poor for not even having the basic skills to be presentable for a 6 figure job interview huh?

    What is next? A ban on ticket pockets on custom suits? Non-functioning jacket sleeve button requirement? Sewn shut lapel button holes? Partial jacket lining requirements? BAN ON BRACES WITH BUTTONS?

    This bastard needs to be stopped!

  2. Cuff links? What about real cuff links huh? I know where this is going . . .

  3. I can see some logic in shop class where students might be around power equipment. But in this day and age, how many schools requiring neckties even have a shop class?

    Why don’t they just get rid of the ties completely. I went to a high school that required them. To this day, I cannot understand the reason for hanging an ugly, useless piece of cloth around your neck. One of the stupidest, and sadly, enduring fashions in the world.

  4. Maybe you guys wouldn’t be such nut job libertarians if you had one of these as a tot.

  5. “Maybe you guys wouldn’t be such nut job libertarians if you had one of these as a tot.”

    A “system error” webpage?

  6. sage: Why not require that all parents stick those helments on their babies’ heads at all times? In fact, why not require that all adults wear them too? You can NEVER be too careful!

  7. eeerr, that would be “helmets’ not helments.

  8. Step 1:
    Tuck necktie into shirt during shop class.

    Step 2:
    Calm down.

  9. Just the other day my 6 month old whacked himself in the face with a Tiny Tots piano. Maybe that thing should be made of foam. Wouldn’t make much music, but at least my boy could be a milktoast.

  10. helments is funnier 🙂

  11. Helmets? Bah! Put your kid a B F Skinner Baby Box until he’s eighteen, then give him a case of whiskey and a Corvette, and send him off to college.

  12. Don’t tie that kid to a set of monkey bars and give him chocolate. He’ll be pulling it down the street.

  13. I cannot understand the reason for hanging an ugly, useless piece of cloth around your neck.

    I read once that neckties are a carry over from the Victorian era. They were created to cover up your buttons, on the idea that if members of the opposite sex saw them they might get impure ideas (like, unbuttoning them). Similar to how they also devised covers for the the ‘legs’ of tables and pianos, since viewing one of the wooden kind ‘bare’ might remind one of a real one ‘bare’.

    Yes, totally vestigal clothing.

    Also, that the buttons you find adorning the ends of sleeves in suitcoats and tunics were originally placed there for Napoleon’s troops. Too many French soldiers were wiping their noses on their sleeves, which looked bad.

    Thank you Mike Mailway!

  14. As someone who got his schooling in the British world let me point this out.

    School uniforms are important in this world. I don’t know how many times I heard the old saw repeated that school uniforms maintained a notion of equality. “You can’t tell the rich pupils from the poor”, unlike in those savage American or French (this one from our French Background class on the French educational system) schools where the rich children lord it over their poor classmates and make them feel infereior.

  15. Also, that the buttons you find adorning the ends of sleeves in suitcoats and tunics were originally placed there for Napoleon’s troops.

    I have heard of that before. Be that as it may, I am now sold on fully functional sleeve buttons. Will never have another suit without them.

  16. I never had any trouble with real ties. It was always the collar button that caused strangulation.

    Clip-on ties? Don’t they know the children can swallow that little plastic hook thingey?

  17. I used to think that we’d be reduced to living in vats of frozen gel as a result of advances in virtual reality. Although I still think that, I believe that we’ll be in vats of frozen gel to protect ourselves from all risks (other than those inherent in living in frozen gel–uh, oh) of any kind before then. That’s convenient, I guess.

  18. “mediageek | March 21, 2007, 3:57pm | #
    “Maybe you guys wouldn’t be such nut job libertarians if you had one of these as a tot.”

    A “system error” webpage?”

    you hereby get the Stevo “Threadkiller” Darkly “Victor of teh Intertubz” award for today!

    two snaps and a circle to you!

    plus the plasma rifle in the 40 watt range…

  19. “I usually wear T-shirts that I buy on my various travels.”

    Ron Bailey, shill for the travel industry.

  20. Obiviously the ZIPPER FLY must be next on the chopping block. If TV has taught us anything,its that those metal toothed monstrosities are an incredibly dangerous (albeit funny) contraption. Button flies for all.

  21. P.S. All kids will report to the headmaster’s office for a personal inspection of compliance with said policy. All failing to adhere, will be depantsed and (eventually) sent home

  22. This is a result of the Big Clip-On Tie lobby. I knew this would happen.

  23. Where is this health and safety thing going to end?

    Fletcher: We get Josey Wales and it ends.

    Terrill: Doin’ right ain’t got no end.

  24. I cannot understand the reason for hanging an ugly, useless piece of cloth around your neck.

    If your ties are ugly, you need some new ties.

    And nothing that is aesthetically pleasing is “useless.”

    The reason you wear ties in certain social situations is the same as the reason you wear any ‘appropriate’ clothing – to show respect. Few things show you have no respect for yourself or others as much as wearing old shorts, a t-shirt and flip-flops to anything other than a beach volleyball game.

  25. I’ve done security for a living and it is a case were you want to wear a clip-on to avoid giving an attacker a noose to grab. The other alternative is to take a regular tie, cut the part at the back of the neck and attach the part with a little thread that will hold the tie in placebut snap long before your neck will. Or, you can try a tie tack.

    Scarves, on the other hand, there’s a safety threat.

  26. What is interesting is that it is quite easy to distinguish the rich from the poor in Australian schools. The well-to-do children wear tailor-made wool blazers and woolen made to measure pants. The children of the less well off wear off the rack synthetics. It is easy to tell the difference*. There is no “uniformity” at all.

    When I visited Tasmania some years ago after a thirty-plus year absence I picked up a copy of the Hobart Mercury. The lead story featured the lamentations of a single mother in public housing that she could not see how to pay the $500 to buy a uniform for her son to attend the local High School for the next year (it is important to note that failure to be in correct uniform results in serious disciplinary action). In all my years in Canada and the United States I have never read a story of a mother who could not dress her child for school. So much for the “school uniforms protect the poor from the rich” argument, eh?

    *As some of my more perceptive Australian friends have observed, the myth of Australian mateship and equality is a beautiful myth, but it is just that, a myth.

  27. Scarves, on the other hand, there’s a safety threat.

    Yes, Isadora Duncan, for one, would verify that. Whoops, except, she’s dead.

  28. Last night the move was slammed as “political correctness gone mad and barmy” by parents and education experts.

    How is this an example of “political correctness”?

  29. I’ve done security for a living and it is a case were you want to wear a clip-on to avoid giving an attacker a noose to grab.

    I remember that back in the 60s there was question whether the Sam Brown belt on a Toronto constable’s uniform did that very thing. But then they also wondered if allowing said constable to wear short sleeves in the summertime might be undignified.

  30. I had to wear a tie as a student for 12 years. In H.S. we could wear what we wanted, but in grades 1-8 we either had a clip-on or a bow-tie attached to a neckband that hooked around back. I never saw an accident like that, and taking off a knotted tie, leaving it knotted, and hanging it in your locker or stuffing it in your pocket was a skill easily mastered.

    Shop aprons are another solution. Can’t have wood chips and the like soiling the broadcloth, can we?

    This bit…

    “We also feel it is smarter because older children will not wear clip-on ties in a casual way.

    “This is in line with places like Marks & Spencer, the police and the armed forces.”

    …betrays where the HM is coming from. He can’t stand seeing his Little Gentleman with their cravats loosened, as they kick around the football or sneak off for a fag.

    BTW, school unis only mitigate, not eliminate, social cues from clothing. The “rich kids” wear newer and better accessories, especially the girls. Maybe if you are a Bush attending Andover you can wear your older brother’s old school blazer and not lose any style points, but at our parish elementary hand-me-downs were a sign that you weren’t flush. Some of the “rich kids” even removed the school crest from their jackets and had it sewn one of the same color, but better material, then the ones we all bought from the school’s designated supplier.

    The girls figured out ways to compete on the field of fashion, varying the styles of their blouses, shoes, hair, handbags, jewelry (when allowed), makeup(w.a.), etc. We boys may not have been sufficiently aware of the rules to tell who was where in the standings, but even I could tell that Miss Linda D*., a blonde goddess whose Daddy was a flush plumbing contractor, was a league leader. Besides being naturally gorgeous, she sported a winter tan after Christmas break, what looked like diamond earrings, a gold cross around her neck, and drove to school in a new Mercury Cougar once she turned 16. If it had turned out that her plaid skirt had been altered by a tailor, it wouldn’t have surprised me. There were girls, just as pretty, who didn’t dress as sharp, and the guys who came from money often went out of their way to look as scuzzy as possible, if only because they hated wearing a uniform.

    Kevin

    (Who was known for wearing sweater vests under his blazer, long before Family Ties hit the airwaves. I caught cold easily, and the nuns kept the thermostats turnded down during the Oil Shock years.)

    *Oddly enough, not a big crush. A girl like that didn’t seem real enough to get worked up over, even though she could have been sent by Central Casting in response to a request for a Teenage Cheerleader Beauty Queen.

  31. had a girlfriend in college got her braces caught in my zipper. When her father got to the e.r. I was questioning my stance on the 2nd amendment.

  32. And nothing that is aesthetically pleasing is “useless.”

    “Aesthetically pleasing” is in the eye of the beholder. I see people every day who look like shit wearing ties.

    The reason you wear ties in certain social situations is the same as the reason you wear any ‘appropriate’ clothing – to show respect. Few things show you have no respect for yourself or others as much as wearing old shorts, a t-shirt and flip-flops to anything other than a beach volleyball game.

    Conformity is the ultimate respect? Anyone who’s offended by my clothing doesn’t deserve my respect.

  33. “Aesthetically pleasing” is in the eye of the beholder. I see people every day who look like shit wearing ties.

    You’re blaming the tie for this?

  34. “You’re blaming the tie for this?”

    [borrowing from jokes mentioned above]

    it’s a conspiracy of Big Haberdashery!

  35. No one said it yet…..
    IT”S FOR THE CHILDREN!!

  36. “Few things show you have no respect for yourself or others as much as wearing old shorts, a t-shirt and flip-flops to anything other than a beach volleyball game.”

    D’oh!

  37. I’m waiting for someone to say that one can never really understand this issue unless one is a parent.

  38. I’m waiting to hear what the kids have to say about it.

    Clip-on ties? Gee whiz, why not issue them pocket protectors while they’re at it?

  39. RC Dean:

    I definitely see where you’re coming from, but I think you can paint with too big a brush there.

    In my workplace everyone wears “proper business attire”, as a matter of policy.

    But on a Sunday afternoon, if it’s just the principals meeting in the office, we wear the worst looking crap you can imagine.

    This would be an instance where dressing down is a “marker” for higher respect, not lower. A casual attitude towards appearance is permitted among “insiders”, but not subordinates or outsiders.

    Why else do you think that California’s high tech world is basically the birthplace of the casual office? Because the ownership class there considered it a statement of their status that they didn’t have to obey 70’s codes of business dress.

  40. School uniforms, with ties or without, do serve another purpose. When I was a lad [4 Yorkshiremen], if you acted up in public on your way to or from school, your uniform was a dead giveaway to the local adults as to who was in charge of you. There wasn’t much chance of successfully playing hooky while you had the monkey suit on. Stuffing your tie and blazer into your bookbag offered you a smidgeon of anonymity, but you were still wearing dress slacks, a dress shirt and dress shoes, and a shopkeeper or policeman wasn’t going to confuse you with a Very Small Adult if he saw you out and about on what was presumably a school day. There was the small pleasure one got on Holy Days of Obligation, when you were off school and the Public Kids were in, and you could smugly inform busybody adults that, no, sir, we don’t have school today, while comfortably clad in dungarees and a T-shirt. Even that had to wait until you got home from Mass, and you normally had to wear your Sunday clothes for that, so, once again, your neck was in the noose.

    What I especially hated about the uniforms was that they made it tough to play sports at recess. You really wanted to be in jeans, sweatshirt and sneakers when playing ball, and while I sometimes packed my Red Ball Jets in my bookbag, that wasn’t always feasible. When I biked to school, the blazer was a particular annoyance. [/4Y]

    I also think that the school and the parents would hope that we would behave better when “dressed up.” We knew that our parents paid good money for our play clothes – they told us so often enough – but it was no tragedy if you had to have a tear in your jeans mended. Ripping a seam in your uniform would get you a lecture about being Careless With Your Property, or worse.

    Kevin

  41. Conformity is the ultimate respect?

    Anyone who thinks that wearing a tie, a sportcoat, or other clothing appropriate for situations more demanding than a fraternity beer bash obviously doesn’t know anything about dressing themselves.

    Good clothes, chosen to fit the situation at hand, are anything but conformist, and certainly offer more scope for personal expression and authenticity than mindless adolescent rebellion or thoughtlessly putting on the same old crap no matter what you are doing.

    Anyone who’s offended by my clothing doesn’t deserve my respect.

    And you don’t get (or deserve) any respect from them, either, would be my guess. I mean, you obviously don’t give a shit about them, so why should they care about you?

  42. Why else do you think that California’s high tech world is basically the birthplace of the casual office?

    And when going to their offices, I wear casual clothing, not suits and ties. Out of respect for the norms that they want to set in their house.

  43. As a parent in Texas many years ago I would have opposed uniforms for my kids. My kids were individuals, to be treated as individuals. Today they are adult individuals. I only wish they were rich individuals.

  44. But Mr Peckham claims pupils could suffer serious injury from trailing ties in science and woodwork lessons or from having their ties pulled by classmates.

    Three guesses which happens 100,000 times more often than the other.

    The reason we wear ties, is the same reason we wear mascara. To distinguish ourselves from animals. If you never wear either a tie or mascara you are no better than a warthog.

  45. sage: Why not require that all parents stick those helments on their babies’ heads at all times? In fact, why not require that all adults wear them too? You can NEVER be too careful!

    Sage does wear one. It happens to be made of tinfoil. But he wears one, nonetheless.

  46. Wait, Warren. Your comment’s meaning is unclear. Anyhow, look at the picture of people wearing ties and mascara and enjoy yourselves.

  47. day they are adult individuals. I only wish they were rich individuals.

    I’m not so picky. I’d just settle for being rich.

  48. Nuts. Maybe that’s just eyeliner. Go to hell, all of ya!

  49. Holy shit RC, I guess we found one of your “buttons”!

    And when going to their offices, I wear casual clothing, not suits and ties. Out of respect for the norms that they want to set in their house.

    Yeah, that’s the point — if you’re going into a social or business situation where formal dress is generally expected, then you should meet those expectations. But in most situations a suit and tie is NOT appropriate. To say that people who don’t wear a suit and tie in public all the time, don’t respect themselves or others, is quite the silly statement.

  50. highnumber,
    It’s an either/or thing. Both together can still separate one from the animal kingdom, just not in a good way. In any case, it’s a necessary but not sufficient condition.

  51. I feel that the use of clothing as a defensive camouflage to smooth relations is entirely acceptable, but at the same time, I think that the idea of an enforced norm for personal attire stifles creativity and encourages bureaucracy. In a military setting that is entirely desirable, but in corporate or commercial circles can lead to the sort of hidebound behaviors we expect of large businesses. It is entirely possible to look presentable and professional without dressing like a penguin or providing your enemies a noose to hang you with.

    Dressing well=good, dressing to conform for conformities sake=not bad.

  52. Well, I’m just happy that there seems to be kids out there that still want to wear the old fashioned tie. Or at least have the sartorial sense about them to shun a clip-on.

    I understand they’re wearing uniforms, but that there is even a worry about rebellious “knot-wearers” is a good sign I suppose.

  53. School uniforms made of bubble wrap are next.

    Fetishists for the schoolgirl look everywhere thank you, Ron. (Or so I’m told.)

  54. I’m waiting for someone to say that one can never really understand this issue unless one is a parent.

    I am a real parent, but only for the past 23 years. I remember before I was a parent and any idiot can understand this issue.

    My son was not required to wear a school “uniform” but he always went dressed properly. He does not have the same like for custom suits as me, but he dresses well for his current job and, I suspect, he will for law school too.

  55. Worry about the REAL threat to the children.

    CHEESE

    http://www.dpna.org/4heroinecheese.htm

  56. To say that people who don’t wear a suit and tie in public all the time, don’t respect themselves or others, is quite the silly statement.

    I agree. Which is why I never said anything of the sort.

  57. If your ties are ugly, you need some new ties.

    RC wins the thread.

    Out here in Na Na land many people fail to dress for the occasion. I am frequently the only person at the meeting in the lawyers conference room who is wearing a tie. OTOH, I often dress fairly casually as well.

    That is a cultural thing with California and has existed for longer than I’ve been alive. My parents were shocked to learn when they moved here in the 1940’s that it was perfectly acceptable to go out to dinner without dressing in a suit and tie.

  58. Or the deadly combination of CHEESE and GREENADES

    http://www.dea.gov/programs/forensicsci/microgram/mg0506/mg0506.html

    Clip-on ties are trivial in comparison to these deadly “starter” poisons.

  59. This reminds me of a scene in Out for Justice (one of Steven Seagal’s early films when he was still a credible martial artist). Steve breaks some goon’s arms, tightens his tie to the point where he starts choking, then walks off, leaving him to strangle to death. So wearing a tie can definitely be dangerous if you’re going up against a pony-tailed sociopath in hand-to-hand combat.

  60. You tie my tie I tie your shoe.

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  62. H&R commenters can sure make a mountain out of a molehill.

    Relax, folks, the world is still full of fun and dangerous activities regardless of the necktie policy of some school that you didn’t know existed five minutes ago.

  63. Tie’s are a danger in science labs and shop. So is long hair it if isn’t tied back. The solution is to tie back long hair and remove neck ties just in those classes.

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