News & Politics

Illinois School District Issues 'Pajamas Ban' for Online Classes

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

A school district in Springfield, Ill., has issued a “pajamas ban” that prevents children from wearing their pajamas when they attend online classes this fall.

The district will have in-person instruction for two days out of the week and online courses for three days. The school says the same dress code that applies to attending school in person will apply to online classes.

New York Post:

“Hats, caps, bandanas, hoods of any type, sweatbands, sunglasses, pajama pants, slippers, or shoes with wheels attached to the bottom shall not be worn,” the district’s school handbook already states — and that applies at home as well, officials said.

Students also are banned from taking classes in bed and must have their computer cameras on and trained at themselves.

Dress codes anywhere — school, office, restaurants — have become passé. But if a kid is learning, what does it matter what he’s wearing?

“In our regular student dress code, it actually states that pajama pants and so forth are not acceptable school apparel,” Jason Wind, the district’s director of school support, told school board members this week, NBC News reported.

“And so this remote learning information that we put in, with the students’ rights and responsibilities that will fall back under that dress code,” he went on.

“They must follow the dress code of the building, and so no pajama pants.”

I can see wanting kids to get out of bed to learn. But the point of dress codes in the past was to enforce a certain conformity on the group. What is there to conform to if you’re sitting at home?

Some district parents were reportedly puzzled by the at-home dress code.

One, John Freml, said the last thing kids needed was another barrier to learning.

“To put more barriers in place, ‘You have to sit at a table, you have to dress a certain way,’ does not make sense,” Freml told NBC News.

There will be no “pajamas police” roaming the virtual classrooms looking for transgressors. Too bad. It might have been entertaining to watch.


“It is understandable that during remote learning our dress code will be flexible. We do not intend to be punitive or to prescribe what students wear at home during remote learning, especially in this period of uncertainty and adjustment for students, families and staff. If there is a specific concern as it relates to dress code, we will address it individually with the student and their family.”

Full disclosure: I’ve been writing in my pajamas for nearly 20 years — ever since I’ve been working online. Of course, my “pajamas” are actually what I wear all day around the house — sweat pants and a T-shirt. But it hasn’t seemed to affect my writing — for better or worse.

But when I worked in an office, I wore a suit and tie and combed my hair every day. I “felt” professional. It felt like I was presenting a professional image to my co-workers and the world.

Did it have any effect on the way I did my job? I doubt it. Clothes may make the man but that goes for dressing down as well.