School dress codes spark wardrobe wars: How to handle it with your kids

/ Source: TODAY

It's that time of year again — time to hit the books, try out for the teams ... and face off with school officials?

Yes, with school back in session for much of the country, the end of summer brings the beginning of dress codes and disagreements.

"They're pulling girls out of class because our shoulders are showing," Hailey Everhart, a sophomore at Chicago's McHenry East High School, told TODAY.

MORE: #IfAnythingSchoolTaughtMe hashtag fuels debate about dress codes

Why the ban on bare shoulders? According to Hailey, it's "viewed as sexual," but not by her or her peers.

"No one thinks it's sexual except the school," she added.

Dress code controversies.TODAY

And seemingly random rules don't just pit students against school officials. Parents are in the mix, too.

"You can show cleavage but not shoulders? I don't get it," Hailey's mom told TODAY.

MORE: Dad blasts school for 'dress code shaming' his 5-year-old daughter over this dress

And that's just one of the rules sparking school wardrobe wars across the country. In Woodford County, Kentucky, it's exposed collarbones. For students at one Harwich, Massachusetts high school, there's a ban on yoga pants.

So what can parents do to help when faced with difficult dress-code decisions?

1. Make sure they pick the right clothes for the right reasons

Experts advise parents to work with their kids about confidence and clothing choices, ensuring the outfits they pick fit their school needs more than a need for popularity.

2. A little individuality is good

Kids should be encouraged to express themselves with their clothing — within reason.

3. Don't ignore disagreements

Acknowledge that the school's rules and your child's preferences may not always mesh. Let kids know they can express their frustrations and start a discussion while still following the rules.

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