My Daughter’s Middle School Banned Her Joan Jett T-Shirt

This was the T-shirt my daughter wore. Now vintage photo courtesy Full Breach77

I am not sure if this was an official censor. Last month my 8th grade daughter came home from school to tell me that her Health Ed teacher told her that she could not wear her Joan Jett T-shirt to school anymore. “Mom, a lot of the teachers told me it was cool” she mused. In the T-shirt Joan Jett is wearing a t-shirt that says “Sex Pistols”. The word sex was offensive to the teacher.

When Sex is combined with Sex Pistols in my mind it had transcended its original meaning. Besides at 14, my daughter is so self-conscious of her body that any t-shirts are usually covered with a large flannel shirt. This has become her new uniform. I never paid much attention to the word sex on this t-shirt. It looked fairly microscopic to me.

My daughter has been a big fan of Joan Jett since the movie the Runaways had been released.  We had been collecting Joan Jett T-shirts on all of our trips to New York City. She purchased this particular one with her father and grandmother at Trash & Vaudeville on St. Marks.

When I was on the phone with the guidance counselor -in reference to some of the bigger issues- I mentioned the t-shirt thing. I heard an embarrassed pause “Well we are being told to crack down on inappropriate clothing.” I told her that some of the other teachers told my daughter that it was cool. There was another pause.  I needed to save this woman, I said, “Don’t worry. I know this health teacher. She is very conservative. She means well. She may not really be up on the changing times. When you have a cohesive dress code in place, we will abide by the code.”

Previously published in Open Salon under Snarkychaser May 11, 2010