Dress Code Do’s and Don’t


Julia Contreras, Writer

A lot of people wonder why the dress code is a thing. Given that you may look professional and more put together is a plus; however, what happens when dress code begins to discriminate against certain people?

For the past few years, schools all over the world have created issues with dress codes, asking for extreme things to fix what some of their students are wearing. This includes putting duct tape over holes or rips, wearing a set of pants underneath another, needing longer pants or skirts, not allowing shorts or hoodies, only allowing polo shirts, etc. What’s really striking is that while this tackles the focus of learning, it creates issues surrounding the bodies of the students.

Some people may question why they can’t be comfortable or wear their uniform as they should, and most times, it isn’t even their fault. Parents even go to faculty and staff at these schools, asking why their daughter or son is being mistreated due to how the uniform is shaped on their body. Some people may say that shorts or straps are too distracting for the students, and even knees are too distracting for a learning environment. So it must be their fault, right? Absolutely not.

The controversy this stirs is how some specific students cannot be comfortable in their uniform, otherwise they are a distraction to the people in the room and are dressing inappropriately on purpose. The fact that some people have different shapes than others shouldn’t be an issue, especially with a dress code. The only time it should be a problem is when it is clearly unfitting for the student, or clearly lewd. Skirts that reach above the knee aren’t distracting, nor are they something that seeks the attention of the opposite gender. Boys need to learn how to control themselves rather than putting a girl’s body down because they believe they are trying to “show it off”, when in reality they are just wearing what is comfortable.

Another issue that needs to be resolved is that some items of clothing required for dress codes are extremely hard to find. It is impossible to find clothes that follow the “fingertip policy”, where the skirt needs to be longer than one’s fingertips when their arms are at their side. This difficulty places a burden on the students, as they now have to worry about how their body looks in a certain pair of shorts or pants, and how they are shaped in the polo or long sleeve they are wearing. Having to live in fear of whether you’re getting dress coded or not is awful. Having to miss out on education due to being “distracting to your peers” is beyond awful.

A lot of students have faced this problem, and a majority of students have admitted that it is quite degrading to be pulled aside and told that their clothing is too provocative, especially when it’s a uniform. When trying to ask why they are being dress coded, authorities and administration have only shouted and treated them in a harsh manner. Students should have the right to speak up for themselves, to explain themselves, and not be silenced from an issue concerning their body.

At a high school in South Carolina, the principal stated that girls are only allowed to wear leggings if they are a “size zero or two.” Not only did the girls feel upset, but the families were even more enraged. Quite astonishingly, this is yet another issue of dress code, involving favoritism. A lot of students have been specifically picked out when wearing clothing and called out in front of many. Not only do the students feel isolated, but they feel degraded, and uncomfortable in their own skin because an administrator said their body was too distracting in the uniform. The major problem is that other students may be wearing the same exact clothing, but they can walk on by and live their life as if nothing was wrong. When only some are unfairly pointed out of a group of people who are dressed the exact same says something about the faculty.

Joplin student Kelsey Anderson

At Joplin High School MO, 17 year old Kelsey Anderson was wearing a long sleeve with jeans when she was told to leave the class for violating dress code. How did she violate the dress code if it’s just a basic long sleeve and jeans? Were the jeans ripped? No. Was the long sleeve cropped? No. Was the long sleeve too revealing or low cut? Not at all. When she asked why she had to leave the class, her teacher told her that she looked too “busty and plus size.” There is so much wrong with this reasoning, so much to unravel during this exchange. Because of her body type – what she was born with – she had to dress in different clothes so others wouldn’t look at her. Why do schools pay so much attention to the body of students? Why is it an issue? Poor Anderson did not understand why, just like multiple other students.

Is it possible to wear hoodies in class? Absolutely not. Not only do people spend their money on expensive clothes for school, but they can’t even wear them. Why spend money on something that you can wear to be comfy in? Even if it does follow the dress code, why can’t students wear them? Are there questions circulating about whether they’d cheat? Well, hoodies do not aid in any of that. Do people hide things in hoodies? Possibly snacks. But anything else? No. Especially if the school is under high security and has cameras installed everywhere, hoodies should not be a problem. Any sweater should not be such an issue, this just goes to show how some administrators don’t trust their students.

If what someone is wearing bothers somebody else, it says more about those it bothers. Specific restrictions on clothes are explicitly aimed only at specific groups of people. Whether its gender, shape, size, race, etc… These kids are being discriminated against. Not only does it make teenagers uncomfortable, it criminalizes the other half by deeming them as “distracted”. Students must dress and cover themselves up due to their peers looking at them in an inappropriate manner, right? No. Self control is a thing, and more people should use it. Not only are kids being blamed, but this goes against their education, as it prevents kids from learning because of minor issues that shouldn’t affect anyone at all.

Let’s take a look at this issue through the eyes of a Christian. Jesus would not want his children to be excluded from a safe and loving environment due to being deemed as different. He would want all people of all body types to feel included and loved, not to be put down or yelled at for being born the way God made them. It is not a Christian virtue to discriminate against others or judge them for their looks.

Dress code should not be such a problem. It should not interrupt a student’s school life and make them feel like they are a burden.