Going Barefoot at School

Going barefoot to/at school is quite common in some countries like Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and India (see the picture at the bottom of the post). It was also quite prevalent in the US in the old days. A few elementary schools in Hawaii still allow their students to attend school in bare feet.

Unfortunately however, most kids today are denied this wonderful experience. So can you blame them for cherishing every chance they've got to go barefoot at school even if only for a brief moment?

My little sister Sharleen (nicknamed Lynn) and I went to a private elementary school with a rather strict dress code. We had to wear uniform everyday that included a tie and white closed shoes. White socks had to be worn at all times in the beginning.

Being an avid barefooter, I always wanted to be barefoot as much as possible. So I would usually take off my tie along with my shoes and socks on the (city) bus, and walk barefoot home from the bus stop. Lynn would never do that, however. She said going barefoot while in the school uniform just didn't look "right" and she would feel embarrassed.

But the funny thing is, when she got home she would often just change her shirt, leave her uniform skirt on, and go out in bare feet (just like in the picture below). She said it was OK since she wasn't in full uniform.

barefoot girl in uniform skirt
Playing at the beach after school
Later they dropped the socks requirement. There was no clear reason given although I heard it was because the rule had become rather hard to enforce due to the popularity of "no show socks."

Believe it or not, I still chose to wear socks because they help reduce foot odor. Lynn however, was only too happy to not have to wear socks to school ever again. That way she could also show off her fancy ankle bracelets. Mom bought her 2 additional pairs of shoes though, so she could alternate them to prevent having stinky feet, lol!

There were a few instances where the strict dress code did not apply, and one of them was an art class which was an extracurricular activity, where students had to work with a lot of paint, and to prevent the uniform from getting dirty, students were required to change into old clothes and take off their shoes (and socks if worn). That was one of the reasons Lynn loved the class.

On the first day she was very happy to be able to be barefoot at school. At the end of the class (which was on Fridays) she didn't change back into her uniform, but put her sneakers back on like all the other kids. The following week she thought, "What would happen if I didn't put my shoes back on, and just walk barefoot to the bus stop and all the way home with my sister? Would I get in trouble? Well, there's only one way to find out!"

So this very pretty yet rather naughty 9 year old girl put her sneakers in her backpack and walked out of the classroom in tank top and shorts to meet me by the gate and walk to the bus stop. She was relieved that no one confronted her. I was a little surprised to see her in bare feet. Although at that time she was already going barefoot quite often, she had never done it at school (outside of her art class).

"Wow, you're barefoot!" I said.

"Yep, it feels good," she replied.

"You won't be embarrassed riding on the bus barefoot?"

"Nope, 'cos I'm not in uniform. You're the schoolgirl, and I'm just your bratty little sister tagging along!"

"Hahaha, my little sister has come a long way!" and we both laughed.

At the bus stop some people looked at her and her bare feet, and smiled. Although she tried not to show it, I could sense that she was feeling a bit uneasy. But she calmly boarded the bus when it arrived, and was more at ease after we sat down.

The third week was a little different, however. Like the previous, Lynn put her shoes in her backpack and started to walk barefoot out of the classroom when she suddenly heard someone call her name, "Sharleen!"

She turned around and saw her arts teacher (whom we will refer to as Mr. B) standing there and gesturing to her to approach him, "Come here!"

You know that sinking feeling, right? "Uh oh, here we go," she thought, "I'm gonna get in trouble for being barefoot at school. But I'm gonna keep cool and try to look really cute, and who knows he will let me off the hook." She said she had been rehearsing this in her mind so in case she was ever confronted, she would know how to respond.

"Yes, Mr. B."

"Where are your shoes?"

"They're in my backpack," she said with a cute smile on her face.

"Why are you not wearing them?"

"Um...because...I hate wearing shoes!" she replied with a little giggle.

"You know the rule. You're supposed to wear shoes and socks at all times outside of my class, and class is over!"

"Uh...just shoes, sir. Socks are not required anymore," she said playfully, again giggling a little.

"Ah, that's right. I forgot about the amended rule," he said with a lot less stern voice. In fact, he almost cracked a smile. Almost! "But you're not wearing shoes. So you're still breaking the rule!" he continued.

"But school is over, and I'm not in uniform, so people may not know I'm a student here. Besides, I'll be out the front gate in just a couple of minutes, so I thought it would be OK," Lynn calmly responded, trying to reason her way out.

"The thing is, everyone knows you around here, and you're still on school grounds nonetheless," said Mr. B. Yeah, Lynn was quite a popular student who was involved in a lot of activities, and they even had pictures of her in the school catalog.

She was like, "Oh...so...it's not OK?"

Duh! Obviously it wasn't. Otherwise, he would not have scolded her, right? She actually realized how silly and maybe futile her response was, but she just didn't know what else to say. Was it time to admit defeat, and just be a good girl and obey the rule?

At that point if Mr. B had said something like, "No! You have to wear shoes at all times. That's the rule, so put them on right now!" she would have had no choice but to comply.

But either she had managed to charm him with her cuteness, or the goddesses were on her side, for he instead said, "Well, I personally don't have a problem with it..."

Immediately the precocious girl knew that she could now tackle the guy and win the argument. Her confidence was restored and was stronger than ever. It was as if she had been handed a magic sword that would seal her victory.

"Oh, so it's OK then?" she quickly interrupted, jumping at the opportunity, but still with a sweet smile.

"Well, I don't want anyone from the administration to see you barefoot in school and give me trouble about it."

Aha! Apparently he was a wuss who thought covering his own ass was more important than enforcing school rules.

"Oh, don't worry Mr. B, should anybody say anything, I would tell them that you have spoken to me about it, and you could tell them the same thing if they talked to you."

Simply put, she would take full responsibility for her actions banking on the likelihood that no one (from the administration) would ever see her barefoot.

Mr. B just shook his head and sighed saying, "OK, just...just go! Quickly, before anyone sees you!"

"Thank you, and have a wonderful weekend, Mr. B!" said the spunky 3rd grader as she walked briskly out of the classroom feeling victorious.


When she finished telling her story we both smiled and high-fived each other, and exclaimed the word "Magic!" We both believe in magic. Not talking about magic tricks or anything too mystical here, but the magic or "miracles" we often experience in our lives by always having a positive attitude and expecting wonderful things to happen.

So that went on for the rest of the semester. Class over, shoes in backpack, and girl happily barefoot all the way home. No one ever confronted her.

So, have you ever gone barefoot at school, or maybe you're one of the students who go barefoot to school regularly? If so, consider yourself lucky!

Latest update
This little girl is now in college (yeah, time flies) and has just written an article A Day in the Life of a Barefoot College Student. You're gonna love it!

Update
Well, she did it again (went barefoot at school), and this time she was in the principal's office. What kind of trouble did she get into? Read and find out! 

kids barefoot at school
Kids go barefoot at school in India.
Photo credits:
bekahboo42 via morguefile.com 
Fairy Heart with CC BY-SA 2.0

Comments

  1. Nice story. Lynn sounds like an adorable girl.

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  2. Anonymous12:11 PM

    I remember the days of attempting to pop off my canvas sneakers without socks and scrunching my barefeet against the floor or spreading my toes and flashing my soles under my desk in elementary school. Ahh...the freedom. My teachers and clasmates didn't care but thought it was cute. This was in Florida. Though I never walked around campus or went to school just in my barefeet.

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  3. I love daring little girls going barefoot !

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