Navel Brigade Invades Germany′s Schools | Culture| Arts, music and lifestyle reporting from Germany | DW | 23.11.2001
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Navel Brigade Invades Germany's Schools

Teachers are marching glossy lipped young maidens home because it is not proper to come to school with a bare midriff.


Teasing, tantalising, sexy, indecent...baring the navel is in!

In Germany, flaunting a bare midriff is the latest craze among made-up school girls who look up to the likes of Jennifer Lopez and Britney Spears as role models. Regardless of the icy temperatures and chilly winds, young ladies flash their studded or tatooed navels to the world, seemingly immune to the cold. The old adage about beauty and sufferance going together has never held more true.

School children are free to dress as they please in German schools and there are no firm rules or regulations in this regard. But since time eternal, parents and teachers alike have disapproved of the youth's choice in dress. However, the retros look with its nude midriffs, brings with it, a lot to talk about especially in Berlin and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

A 14-year-old Berlin student was asked to leave a class and not to come back until she covered-up. A 12-year-old student from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is looking for another school after she was asked to do the same thing. Another young lady attending a Catholic school was marched back home after showing up for classes in an off-the-shoulder T-shirt. Said the indignant Principal, "I will not tolerate something like that from my students".

Teachers maintain that nudity and bare navels are distracting and provocative to the male members of their classes. That includes the male teachers too. Students on the other hand, maintain that they are being treated too harshly and teachers are being too strict with them.

The head of the Ministry of Culture has been dragged into the debate as to whether young ladies should be allowed to show off their belly buttons in schools. She just smiles and says that students should be allowed to express their individuality through the way they dress as long as it doesn't offend the sensibilites of others.

German schools are now considering whether they formally need to administer some kind of dress code to force these young ladies into dressing more sensibly. This will top the agenda at the next Parent Teacher Association meetings at junior schools throughout Germay.

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