back to article What are you gonna do? Give me detention? Illinois schools ban pyjamas in online classes

As the mercury hits tropical levels in the UK, Vulture Central continues to deliver enterprise tech news in various states of undress. But spare a thought for kids in the Illinois state capital of Springfield who have been told they cannot wear pyjamas or sit in bed while enrolled in online classes. The school district's …

  1. Cronus

    Not related to the article per se but not really sure where else I'd post this. What ever happened to Mr Dabbs? Did I miss some article about him leaving?

    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      I think I saw him on vacation in France!

    2. GrumpenKraut

      > Did I miss some article about him leaving?

      There was no such article though he apparently left. Quite sad, I enjoyed his writing enormously.

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge

      There was a Tweet from Dabbsy about it here. He may be back or he may sink into molten metal in a foundary making a thumbs up sign.

      1. A. Coatsworth Silver badge

        Thanks for the tweet link! I had the same doubt and hadn't found any hard info about Dabbsy.

        I just noticed his description at twitter reads "Ex-columnist at The Register" so, yeah, more great news from this SOB year.

        Hopefully an asteroid will hit soon and end it all already. It has been too much bullsh*t already for a year.

        1. Potemkine! Silver badge

          "Ex-columnist at The Register"


          So Apocalypse is really under way, isn't it?

      2. GrumpenKraut

        Thanks, I dearly hope for a come back.


      3. chivo243 Silver badge

        Gutted... I thought something was missing, BOFH is almost non-existent. I guess we all get long in the tooth.

        Knowing Dabbsy only from his writing, I doubt it would be the thumb he holds up!

      4. jake Silver badge

        It would be good to see him back.

        STOB, too.

        Plus ça change ...

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: It would be good to see him back.

          No sign of BOFH for some time either. Bring 'em all back!

    4. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Hope he returns and enjoys his holiday meanwhile.

      I enjoyed his curmudgeonly viewpoints on life and the daily struggle to get through it.

    5. grrrrrrrr

      Last spotted somewhere near Durham, visiting Barnard Castle.

  2. chivo243 Silver badge

    Hmmm, how the hell?

    Let's see... I'm seated at a table, with a nice shirt, and pj bottoms with slippers under the table, how the hell are they gonna know? Are they going to ask me to stand and deliver?

    Disclaimer, I'm from Killinois... or Smellinois, pick your poison ;-}

    1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Hmmm, how the hell?

      My Teams backgrounds masked the fact that I was working from an unfinished basement. I usually appeared to be in one of the following:

      Tardis (bigger on the inside, of course)

      NASA Mission Control

      A generic tropical beach

      The department award for most innovative background went to the chap who photographed the area behind his desk at work and used that.

      My basement has now been finished (partition walls, suspended ceiling, LED lighting), so I proudly show it off....because it appears that I will be working from there for the forseeable future...

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Hmmm, how the hell?

        I use a green screen. The live background is variously the hog pen, one of the ponds, a very long distance shot of the Golden Gate (from a friend's place in the hills above Berkeley), my IBM 1401, PDP-11 or other old iron (depending on what is fired up and doing work at the time), a shot between a couple rows of tomatoes or grapes, one of the fish tanks, one of the many CalTrans traffic cams, a street view of Sonoma's Plaza, or anything else that catches my fancy at the time.

      2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        Re: Hmmm, how the hell?

        It may have been hereabouts that I recently commented on whether there was a video calling mode that just inserts your face in the body of your choice (I think at the moment no). There is the option of a full-size physical picture board with a hole to put your face through.

        I put on trousers for my working-at-home day, even if I'm probably not on camera. Shoes are discretionary.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Hmmm, how the hell?

      I'm basically in agreement with you but a couple of points:

      • sitting in bed is poor ergonomics and probably not the best position for distance learning. Then again, many households might not have the resources for a choice.
      • The clothes shouldn't become an object of discussion during the lesson, so neutral clothes are less of a distraction. But better still to have the kids cameras disabled unless absolutely necessary. Not least the privacy aspect: young kids on an online video conference potentially in their underwear? Think of the potential lawsuits in the land of unlimited liability if someone were to record and publish the lessons!

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Hmmm, how the hell?

        "better still to have the kids cameras disabled unless absolutely necessary. Not least the privacy aspect"

        I agree entirely, but I have recently heard that many schools are requiring their students to keep the cameras on to enforce the attendance policy. I'm not sure how I feel about this other than glad I don't have to experience it. If it happened to me, I might have to try the "my camera doesn't function because it got damaged" gambit. Fortunately all of my current meeting members don't care in the slightest that I don't turn my camera on because most of them don't either.

        1. Diogenes

          Re: Hmmm, how the hell?

          I had my kids keep cams off and microphones on mute unless I specifically asked them to turn them on. The 'chat' & raise your hands features in Teams covered the "hello - are you there?" for attendance.

        2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          Re: Hmmm, how the hell?

          Singapore-style Bluetooth leg irons maybe? The shackle is in range of the computer, therefore so is the student.

      2. First Light

        Re: Hmmm, how the hell?

        Not to mention creepy people trying to hack their Zoom lessons.

    3. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Hmmm, how the hell?

      If it isn't visible, I don't see how they can tell. If they have to stand up, or they get up during the lesson to go to the lav, you will see what they are wearing.

      But it is a little discipline and it is generally psychological for the person wearing the PJs. If they are in PJs, they are often not wide awake and not in a "professional" work mode. I know when I worked from home, I was a lot more productive when I was wearing trousers and a t-shirt than slobbing around in my dressing-gown.

      That said, I haven't worked from home for nearly a decade. I was at work during our lock-down to ensure that the infrastructure was working, so that those in home office could still work.

      1. hoola Silver badge

        Re: Hmmm, how the hell?

        The problem is that allowing unacceptable clothing put all people, particularly the adults on the the video calls at risk of being put under investigation when complaints are then made. The trouble is that once an allegation against a member of staff has been made it is next to impossible to resolve as the Facebook warriors are judge, jury & executioner in minutes. I cannot see the point of mandating school uniform for remote lessons although clearly one has to wear something, it just needs to be appropriate. I really cannot be that difficult to get up and put some clothes on. They did it when schools were running normally so just do the same now.

        At my kid's school even when they had a non-uniform day there were still limits on what was acceptable. For a long time schools pretty much went down the route of dark trousers or skirt, a polo shirt and jumper with the school logo. That is changing more now with a resurgence of blazers and ties for some unknown reason.

  3. Rattus

    and how would they know...

    All the kids at my daughter's school have been using overlaid graphics in their online lessons - dragon scales & cat heads, guess they could still be 'dressed' in a school uniform

  4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "And it's nearly lunchtime."

    So time to get up?

    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

      Time to think about getting up.

      Getting up is after lunch. Unless roused by the smell of frying bacon.

  5. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    So long as it's not mixed thread...

    I've never had any truck with dress codes or uniforms of any kind, at work, at school, or anywhere. To me it's all 'fascism'.

    I'm all for people wandering around naked, in full top hat and tails, and anything in-between, if they want to. But I am well aware my tolerance is derided as degenerate and dangerous by so-called lovers of freedom the world over.

    1. Warm Braw

      Re: So long as it's not mixed thread...

      There's a rather odd argument put forward for school uniforms is that it prevents rich kids from parading their wealth in ostentatious designer wear when it actually means that poorer families have to buy clothes, often overpriced from single suppliers, they can't usefully use on other occasions.

      I always felt school was just preparing kids for a life of taking arbitrary orders from people with more money /status/louder voices and any education was merely incidental. It's a theory that social media would seem to validate.

      1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

        Re: So long as it's not mixed thread...

        I always felt school was just preparing kids for a life of taking arbitrary orders from people

        To quote Madness:

        "All I learned at school was to bend not break the rules".

        1. Warm Braw

          Re: So long as it's not mixed thread...

          Quite. The whole ethos of UK education seems to be transactional: you do what's expected in order to get a piece of paper that lets you go on to do more of what's expected in future and if you step beyond grudging compliance your expected future is withdrawn. Nothing to do with actual value - or interest - in knowledge or research.

          It would be a start to teach kids that the world is actually interesting rather than reducing knowledge to a selected list of facts that must be learned (even though they're mostly not facts....). And we might not have 22% of 16-24 year-olds saying they'd refuse a coronavirus vaccine. And if we didn't base educational attainment exclusively on exam results, we wouldn't have the current grading fiasco either.

          But that's all hippy communism, I'm told by people who seemingly confuse recall with understanding.

          1. Chris G

            Re: So long as it's not mixed thread...

            I stopped going to school when I was fourteen, in the mid sixties. It was a good school but I was bored, didn't like wearing a uniform and tired of being berated for having long hair ( three of us were given red ribbons to wear if we didn't get a hair cut, this in an all boys school. I wore mine and it really annoyed the teachers.)

            Instead of GCEs, I waited until I was 35 then got a degree because I was interested and that has always been my beef with schooling, rote lessons taught the same way year in, year out without any effort made to explain why they are teaching you e.g. differential equations and what they are for etc.

            I could go on but I'm uneducated.............

            1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

              Re: So long as it's not mixed thread...

              Do you still have the red ribbon in your ponytail? Just curious, I may go that way with the lockdown condition of the little hair that time has left me with.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: So long as it's not mixed thread...

            The teacher and curriculum make a massive difference. I had a great chemistry teacher and really loved that subject. On the other hand I despised history as I had a tedious teacher with a personality bypass trying to tell me about the industrial revolution. I am now a history junkie and love to uncover obscure historical facts.

            1. ICPurvis47

              Re: So long as it's not mixed thread...

              Ditto. I had a really keen, knowledgeable, Metalwork teacher, who helped and encouraged us. On the other hand, our History teacher was useless, all he was interested in was a complicated list of Kings and Queens of England, from about 1000BC until the present. I never learned anything from him, and asked not to be entered for the History GCE 'O' level exam. He insisted I was, and my results were Grade 1 Metalwork, 5 assorted Grade 3s, and Grade 9 in History. I went on to take a BSc. in Mechanical Engineering, an MSc. in Diesel Engine Technology, and to begin a PhD. in Nuclear Engineering (cut short because the sponsoring company withdrew from the scheme after the first 3 months). I also am now a History Buff, interested in the Industrial Revolution, etc.

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: So long as it's not mixed thread...

        I went to school both in Blighty (uniform) and the US (no uniform). Trust me, even in so-called Uniform you could tell which kids parents had money and which kids parents were skint. And who was a punk, who was a mod, who was into pop, and the poor laughed at kids who had been brainwashed by the BBC into believing that Abba was decent tunage. You can try to stamp out individuality with a uniform, but most kids will rebel against it. I think it's in the human DNA ...

      3. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

        Re: preparing kids for a life of taking arbitrary orders

        No arguments here. Most schools seem to actively avoid anything that teaches critical thought and actual individuality, instead forcing kids to toe the line and never dare to question "authority", from day one in primary school.

        Seems like an attempt to ensure they are used to doing exactly what they're told and not questioning anything once they get to secondary school. And so they don't beat up the teachers. Grow them meek and unquestioning.

        Guess it makes for easier-to-control adults. Mindless drones are so much easier to keep in line.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: preparing kids for a life of taking arbitrary orders

          > No arguments here. Most schools seem to actively avoid anything that teaches critical thought and actual individuality, instead forcing kids to toe the line and never dare to question "authority", from day one in primary school.

          Schools in the UK are required to teach the National Curriculum. This specifies what to teach and the way to teach it. If you have a problem with what schools are teaching and they way they are doing it then your problem is with politicians not teachers.

  6. alain williams Silver badge

    No bed rule

    Unfortunately I suspect that for some of the poorer pupils this is the only place that they can call their own.

  7. Efer Brick

    Same in Croydon

    A pal's son had to wear full skule uniform during lock down lessons.

  8. Just Enough


    "British pupils look like they will be returning to school in September"

    British kids are already returning to school, in August. Because they're not all English.

  9. Nunyabiznes

    As long as they are properly covered up and the clothing isn't obscene I don't see an issue.

    Personally, I've generally found it easier to learn when I'm comfortable, not sitting in a hard desk designed to make your bum numb while freezing/broiling as season dictates.

    1. RM Myers

      Actually, in graduate school I can remember one particularly well structured young lady who tended to dress in a manner some might consider "obscene" (thin t-shirt, no bra), and it didn't affect my learning. If anything, it keep me perked up in what was a fairly boring course.

      1. ICPurvis47

        Obscene? Moi?

        At school in the sixties, we had a French teacher, Miss Picton, who was rather distracting. She used to enter the classroom in two distinct stages, the front of her woolen jumper or blouse, followed some time later by the rest of her. Needless to say, we oiks waited with bated breath for her arrival, to see what delights she would be wearing that day.

    2. jake Silver badge

      Whose definition of "obscenity", Kemosabe?

  10. Sir Loin Of Beef

    This is my state for ya!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We recently had an all hands meeting and management said there had been complaints about staff eating & drinking during video calls (Er, we did that at the office), children/partner/pets walking into someone's (physical) room, outside noise, etc.

    If it was people's choice to work from home, I might have some sympathy, but none of us had a choice when this all kicked off months ago. (And we still don't have a choice now) Not everyone has a dedicated office room at home and for some households there is not enough room for everyone to be working from home.

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

      Our (europe-wide) place has gone quite the other way.

      We have bi-monthly (as in every other week) "formal" meetings for all-hands in which everyone is on mute (enforced) and senior manglement present, but we also have on the alternate weeks regional local office meetings.

      And in those we're actively encouraged to bring kids, pets and whatever you want and it's run as almost a social get-together to keep team spirits up and engender community and mutual support (kinda water-cooler meetings) and let everyone get to know everyone else and their wider family better.

      Have to say it is actually working very well, was most pleasantly surprised given how some of our manglers used to seemingly consider anything like sociability and working from home as a major threat to their little control empires.

      Sadly there is one thing we're still not allowed, at least officially --->

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "everyone is on mute (enforced)"

        You could set up backgrounds with pictures of yourselves in them and do something useful (or otherwise) whilst manglements mangle.

  12. gfx

    swimming trunks

    That's what I'm wearing the local 35 degree heatwave warmed indoors to 32 degrees celsius.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: swimming trunks

      I threw on one of my wife's summer dresses yesterday. I know, but damn it's cool and comfy. Anon of course but you should try it.

  13. Robert Helpmann??

    Mighty Maxim

    business in the front, party in the back

    I thought that was "liquor in the front and poker in the rear". Kids these days!

    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: Mighty Maxim

      Quite right, but I've only see the 'business in front, party in back' saying attributed to a Mullet haircut. and the other phrase I've heard in a nsfw manner too!

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: Mighty Maxim

      There used to be (still is? I don't know ... it was forty years ago, or thereabouts) a gambling & drinking establishment in Auburn, California. I can't remember their name, but I do remember their bumpersticker:

      <bar logo & name> "Liquor in the front, poker in the rear"

      The logo was a silhouette of a prospector panning in a creek.

      1. Ghostman

        Re: Mighty Maxim

        There used to be (still is? I don't know ... it was forty years ago, or thereabouts) a gambling & drinking establishment in Auburn, California. I can't remember their name, but I do remember their bumpersticker:

        <bar logo & name> "Liquor in the front, poker in the rear"

        There was also the establishment that had a large replica of a revolver across the front. The name was Pistol Dawn.

        their logo, "Drink All Night, Pistol dawn".

      2. Chris G

        Re: Mighty Maxim

        @ Jake

        20 years ago I lived just up the road in Nevada City, I remember that logo but not the bar, although being in the Gold Country, I suppose that logo in one form or another was everywhere.

      3. tony trolle

        Re: Liquor in the front, poker in the rear

        you can buy t-shirts with that printed

  14. jake Silver badge

    "On the other hand, at least the US kids don't have to wear uniforms."

    Oft repeated, but not true. School uniforms are mandated by school districts all over the United States. Perhaps 25% of school districts had some kind of school uniform back in the late '90s and early'00s, the last time it peaked ... it seems to be rather less than that these days.

    Just now, on the SF Bay Area Channel 7 news broadcast (variously KGO TV, ABC 7 News), they mentioned that many school districts across the country are mandating kids wear their school uniforms even while "distance learning" from home. As I predicted three months ago.

  15. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge


    answered work calls while lying in a bed (in hospital wired to the machine that goes "ping")

    They should be able to wear what the hell they like

    1. Ghostman

      Re: Having

      answered work calls while lying in a bed (in hospital wired to the machine that goes "ping")

      I heard many years ago that the NHS loves the "machine that goes PING".

      Yes, yes, that machine, with the melodious voice that every few minutes goes piiinngggg.

  16. DJV Silver badge

    Jason Wind... a boy, was a spacious sexual toy...

    (instant song in my "glam" head)

  17. Cuddles


    OK, I can understand much of the point. Most of the advice for working from home makes it clear that it's best to clearly distinguish between work time and play time, and things like actually getting out of bed and wearing clothes can be a big part of that. School is no different really. Forcing kids to switch to education mode instead of just lying about in bed may well have some benefit in getting them to actually pay attention at least a little bit more. But what's wrong with slippers? They're literally just shoes designed to be worn indoors. Are they all supposed to wear hiking boots or something while sitting at their desks? Why? I don't wear anything on my feet at all when I'm at home, and I honestly can't see why anyone would consider that a problem. Actually being awake and clothed, and not exposing parts to the camera that others would prefer not be exposed, fine. But why should anyone give a shit what I happen to have, or not have, on my feet?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Slippers?

      "But why should anyone give a shit what I happen to have, or not have, on my feet?"

      Exactly! I'm more concerned about the numbers of people who don't seem to realise we really don't want a view of their nasal hair or any bogies that might be just inside. If only people would either place their cameras a bit higher or, if like most people, are using a laptop, stick it on top of a couple of books while on video. This applies doubly so to those "meeja professionals" who seem to have managed to completely ignore what a camera operator does for them every day by making them look good.

  18. Marty McFly Silver badge

    Covid is killing the dying...

    ....and I am not talking about people. The US public education was already in decline. Covid accelerated its death. School administrators trying to apply controls to students while they are in their own private homes is a symptom of its death throes.

    You think it is nutty now. Just wait until a significant percentage of students do not return to the classroom. Parents are questioning the system. Little Johnny's behavior problems went away, and he can do all his school work in about 2 1/2 hours. Why do they need him for 8 hours + homework time? Watch for massive lay-offs of educators & closing of physical schools.

    The sad part... The teacher unions will see to it the senior teachers stay - instead of allowing the district to weed out the lousy teachers (like any other industry would do in this situation). Good teachers will find their own path - private schools, on-line learning programs, tutoring, etc. So public education will be left with the garbage teachers.

  19. Moonrunner

    Pure idiocy.. Why force kids to wear uncomfortable, street clothes, when even us adults don't need to? Here's my typical work attire:


    -Slip-on sandals


    [when appearing on camera, I'd put on a normal t-shirt, though]

    That 'no slippers' bit is particularly dumb. So, kids are supposed to wear outdoor footwear indoors? If I did that as a kid, babushka would have picked up any combination of slipper/rolling pin/spatula and given me an education in pain tolerance and proper sanitation procedures!

    1. jake Silver badge

      Totally agree on footwear.

      Here at the Ranch, if we wear our outdoor shoes/boots anywhere indoors but in the mud room, the Collie gets upset and nose-nose-noses us until we remove the offending articles. Then she very carefully puts them where they belong ... Her kennel name is supposed to be Martha, but I call her Lilo because she's our favorite boot manager.

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