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Winter's here!

This winter's big question: 

ARE SCHOOL DRESS CODES NECESSARY?

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Heather told us what she thought about this tricky issue:

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"The topic of dress code is very complex and diverse. Should there be limits on what students can wear? Should girls be allowed to wear spaghetti straps or above knee level skirts? Should the same rules that apply to girls also apply to boys? 

About 96% of schools have dress codes, and many people have strong views either for or against them. I think that a school dress code would be okay if its main aim was to restrict kids from wearing inappropriate or offensive clothing. However, many of the current school dress codes are too restrictive; they show bias against girls, and can result in girls feeling humiliated.

One item of clothing many school dress codes ban is spaghetti strap tops. These tops are a big discussion point in many schools because they show girls’ shoulders. But I think schools can be too restrictive on whether or not tank tops are allowed.

 A 9-year-old granddaughter of Laurie Levy, a retired preschool director, was reprimanded for wearing a tank top to school in 99° weather. Why is this item of clothing deemed inappropriate in such hot weather conditions? Well, the school’s reason was that bare shoulders are distracting for boys. But in this case, are a 9-year-old’s shoulders really that big of a distraction? 

There are plenty of other stories about students being sent home for wearing tank tops, even in temperatures topping 110°. 

Another example of how restrictive dress codes can be concerns a high school student called Grace Goble. Grace, a 17-year-old who attends Main South High School, had her yearbook photo rejected for wearing an off the shoulder top. The dress code rules at her school stated that shoulders have to stay covered up. 

Grace was infuriated and defends her clothing choice by saying “normal body parts are being turned into something that bothers people.

Everyone has shoulders, so why should girls displaying them affect boys? 

Most students say that dress codes affect girls more than boys. Why is this fair? Why should girls have to worry more about whether their clothes will be deemed inappropriate when they arrive at school? 

After an in-school suspension for wearing “too short shorts”, one high school girl states that boys wear shorts that are shorter than hers, and they don’t get in trouble. In addition, girls have to change their clothes if teachers think they will distract boys. But if a boy is distracted by something a girl is wearing, is that not something the boys need to address rather than the girls? 

Grace Goble argues that it is ridiculous that girls should have to cover up their bodies “because it could possibly distract someone.” Schools are basically labeling young girls as distractions. What message is this sending to the child? That her body isn’t good enough to be shown in public? That her body can say more about her than her words or behavior? 

A 13-year-old girl is walking into school wearing shorts that come halfway down her thighs when suddenly, a teacher tells her that what she is wearing is inappropriate. So, this girl is now forced to change into boys’ gym shorts. Humiliating, right? Well, this actually happens all the time in many school districts! Imagine how embarrassed a girl would feel if they had to change their clothes mid-way through the school day. Furthermore, forcing a student to change into ill fitting clothes that aren’t theirs will make them uncomfortable. As a result, these unfortunate students will probably struggle to pay attention in class because they will be so worried about what others are saying about them and what they are now wearing. 

This hurts the student because they are not concentrating and focusing on what they need to learn.  All this because the school thinks they are wearing inappropriate clothing. 

All in all, I can conclude from all my research that we shouldn’t have strictly enforced dress codes overall. I do agree that students should wear clothes that are reasonable and not too revealing and that don’t display hate symbols, drugs, alcohol, bad language or other offensive things. However, being sent home for wearing spaghetti straps in very hot weather or having your photo removed from your yearbook for showing your shoulders, is, in my opinion, ridiculous. Strictly enforced school dress codes humiliate girls, are biased against girls, and are too restrictive.

 

 

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