Here is a part of a letter a third-grade teacher from Maple Shade, New Jersey sent to her pupils’ parents. I copied it from an AP piece published in my local newspaper on April 15th 2010. It was under the by-line of a Geoff Mulvihill, apparently an old-style journalist who does not know what’s good for him. (Remember his name; he might need support soon.) I have changed nothing in the letter except that the boldings are mine.
“If your child is a young man he does not have to wear a dress or skirt, as there are many time periods where women wore jeans, pants and trousers. However, each child must be able to express what time period their outfit is from. Most of all, your child should have fun creating their outfit and learning about how women’s clothing has changed.”
The AP piece specifies that the principal had canceled the “fashion show.”
One little girl complained that the cancellation meant that she could not wear her “can-can” dress to school. That’s as in “French can-can,” I assume. According to Toulouse-Lautrec, who knew what he was painting, the can-can outfit involves black stocking with garters and abundantly frilly underwear. Third graders are, what 9, 10, 11?
I am confused, and not only by the teacher’s grammar.