The Harbinger Online

Decoding the Dress Code

Think back to the last time the sequined headband of the girl in front of you in English was distracting you to a point that you couldn’t focus on your vocab. Or the time you got in a fist fight with your lab partner because he was wearing an MU jersey.

Doesn’t ring a bell? That’s because clothing isn’t a distraction in school. What you wear doesn’t affect other students’ learning, so outfit choices shouldn’t be limited by a strict dress code.

According to the student handbook, the dress code is put in place to help make the school a learning ellie sidebarenvironment. Intelligence has nothing to do with the clothes you’re wearing. Putting a kid in nice clothes won’t make them pay attention in class any more or study any harder.

I agree with some parts of the dress code, I just think it needs to lighten up. Drug-promoting T-shirts and Confederate flag shorts shouldn’t be allowed, but there are some prohibited clothing items that just don’t make sense. Outdoor jackets and coats aren’t allowed. There is no reason for this; they aren’t disrespectful or inappropriate, and no one is going to smuggle something in their North Face that they can’t smuggle in the front pocket of their hoodie.

Last year, there was a slide on the TVs in the hallway that reminded students that sheer tops were not to be worn without tank tops under them. This, and most of the dress code, was directly aimed at girls, and what I think, is a double standard. The code directly states that girls’ chests and midriffs should be “adequately” covered, but mentions nothing about the same clothing on boys. Boys should have to cover up just as much. If girls can’t wear crop tops and spaghetti straps, boys shouldn’t get to wear muscle shirts with arm holes down to their stomach.

Tank tops, short skirts and backless or midriff-revealing shirts are all among the many violations of the dress code. If the boys’ swim team can shake around in only Speedos in front of the whole school, female students should get to show a little more skin as well.

For one thing, I don’t see how spaghetti straps or halter tops are bad in any way. Sorry, but shoulders are not seductive. The same goes for backless shirts. Hold on, let me go lure in some boys with my back? And skirts that show “too much” leg shouldn’t matter so much. As long as it covers everything, girls should be fine. The dress code only covers the length of skirts and shorts; does that mean if someone shows up to school in a see-through dress that goes down to their ankles, they’re fine? There is no problem if nothing is visible, because another inch of skin isn’t going to hurt anyone. Girls shouldn’t have to cover up and sacrifice the clothing they’re comfortable in just to assist boys’ learning. If the boys have a problem, fix them.

Another problem with the dress code is how unclear it is, making it too subjective. I’ve worn plenty of skirts with questionable lengths, and I’ve gotten complimented on those skirts by faculty. One woman told me my silver sequined miniskirt reminded me of her childhood in the ‘60s. But I’ve also seen plenty of students get negative comments from teachers about their “inappropriate” clothing choices. I’ve seen a bunch of people wearing crop tops lately, which are forbidden according to the district. Some teachers ask students to pull their shirt down, others ask them to change.

The dress code has been the same for a while, and should be updated for this school year. It isn’t specific enough and needs to make restrictions equal for girls and boys. Skin isn’t inappropriate, and kids shouldn’t be taught to think so.

The dress code minimizes students’ style options by limiting what they can wear. I understand that kids don’t need to don any clothes with the F-bomb on them, but we should be able to wear our favorite band’s T-shirt or a miniskirt. The dress code mainly focuses on female students; saying that only girls should have to cover up sexualizes them. If girls’ bodies are a distraction to boys, it shouldn’t be the girls’ responsibility to change.The school should reconsider its dress code to have less restrictions and allow equal dressing rights to boys and girls.

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