This is a blog post written in response to a rabbi who wants to know how to deal with students not appropriately attired in school. It makes a lot of sense. And it’s not even such a crazy idea.
Most women who have been through the Orthodox “system” have developed “Tznius PTSD” (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). Meaning, just the word “tznius” can invoke many very negative (sometimes quite traumatic!) experiences and associations. For that reason, I truly believe that tznius is a topic that should not be discussed directly with young women. (This is unfortunate as it is a topic that can actually be quite empowering and positive when presented to individuals who do not have these negative associations – such as women who are become more observant.)
…When a girl has a dress code infraction, she should not be dressed-down (pun intended) for being “untznius” or dressing inappropriately. Instead, she should be informed that she is in violation of the school’s dress code. It should be addressed in the same way any other school rule, such as tardiness or frequent absences, would be addressed. There should be NO judgement, name-calling, or general emotional reactivity. This teaches the girls to comply with school rules and expectations without creating a long-term contentious association with “tznius”.