Do Doc Marten Mary Janes Really Reflect Up: McAuley's Shoe Debate

Mother McAuley High School's new shoe policy is being met with blowback by students, parents and alumnae.

The Doc Marten Mary Jane, which retail for $100, is one of three shoe options available to students in the 2014-15 school year.
The Doc Marten Mary Jane, which retail for $100, is one of three shoe options available to students in the 2014-15 school year.

CHICAGO, IL -- Mother McAuley High School’s newly revised shoe policy is causing quite a stir among students, parents and alumnae alike.

The Catholic girls’ high school is apparently cracking down on shabby footwear by requiring students to purchase one of three designated shoe options for the start of 2014-15 school year.

A letter to parents recently went out describing changes to the school dress code, which formerly specified “black or brown” dress shoes to be worn with the McAuley embroidered knit polo and knee-length kilt.

It seems as if some students were pushing the dress code clomping around the halls in gym shoes (hey, they’re black), slippers or Uggs.

“As a school community, we firmly believe that the enforcement of a formal dress code helps to perpetuate a positive learning environment conducive for academic success,” the letter stated. “In partnership with our parents and guardians, it is our expectation that all aspects of the dress code policy will be fully embraced by our families in order to further Mother McAuley’s academic excellence and strong sense of school unity.”

The three options available to students include Doc Marten Mary Janes, in dark brown or black. The classic Mary Jane shoe style is  fastened with a strap, and have low heels and a rounded toe box, according to the experts at Wikipedia. Doc Martens retail for about $100.

The other choices include the Eastland Lincoln penny loafer ($85) and the Hush Puppy Epic slip-on loafer ($79). All shoes must be worn with black or white socks above the ankles, and/or tights in like colors, which must cover the entire foot, according to the McAuley dress code.

And no fake Doc Martens or Payless knockoffs either, even though Skechers makes a pretty good imitation, Doc Marten-style shoe, and are less expensive. Student's footwear must be one of the aforementioned brands.

McAuley spokeswoman Jennifer Busk confirmed the school’s no-fakery shoe policy.

“The school uniform is symbolic of Mother McAuley and the pride of our students,” Busk said in an email. “In the interest of unity and to eliminate discrepancies, we have decided to offer three options of shoes, at various price points, to our families.”

For parents already scrimping to send their daughters to McAuley because they believe in secondary Catholic education -- the 2014-15 tuition is $10,200 -- the change in the shoe policy is already causing some blowback, evidenced by the 44 comments on McAuley’s Facebook page.

Patti Culloton Gasparian: “As an Alum who works in the shoe industry I'm embarrassed by your shoe choices. Doc Martens are okay but the other two haven't been relevant since I graduated in ‘89. Might need a time machine to go purchase them.”

Lynn Marie: “I see what you are trying to do. However, what about trying on a shoe to be sure it fits? I agree that the girls should be in dress shoes, but have their choices really been that bad? And the expense? Let's remember some families struggle to send their daughters to you, and these shoes are not cheap.”

Marybeth Usher: “Have you been to McAuley lately? These choices are so much better and more appropriate than the slippers, gym shoes and other choices currently in use. I know Doc Martens are expensive but they could be worn for all 4 years if need be!”

Erin ElizAbeth: “This is a bit much. I'm a Catholic School teacher who is going to struggle tremendously to send my daughter there next year and now I have to worry about spending even more money on mandated shoes?”

Lisa Wisniewski:  “I have a junior so I have to get a pair of $100 shoes that she will wear only 2 years and no more and what if you have a Senior they will only wear those shoes for one year , and with the tuition going up so much every year this is ridiculous.”

Lisa Campanelli: “I think this is great, as an alum it is nice to see the school get a little stricter on dress code. When we were there, face it, we wore whatever shoes we wanted and looked terrible compared to other catholic schools.”

Something the school’s dress code policy doesn’t mention, is whether the Doc Marten Mary Janes should be worn on graduation day along with the long, white organza dresses.

Do schools have the right to mandate specific shoe brands in their student dress code policies? Tell us in the comments. 

KNOW YOU ENEMY June 03, 2014 at 11:24 AM
Rick Drew June 03, 2014 at 05:35 PM
Typical entitlement minded reply.
Rick Drew June 03, 2014 at 05:35 PM
It's a private school. Private schools have dress codes. Parents know this when they send their kids there. I went to St. Laurence. We were required to wear button down shirts, ties, dress pants and shoes with leather soles that laced up. Across the street was (and still is) Queen of Peace. Their dress code was more strict. Uniforms color coded to your year. Parents had to purchase these. Don't like the dress code, don't go there.


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