“School Dress Codes”

Allana Dedmon, Staff Writer

School dress codes have always been tough on students, restricting them from wearing
anything that lets them express their individuality. Even in elementary schools, dress codes can
be very oppressive, making sure that even school uniforms aren’t tampered with.
The reason for these close-minded dress codes? Usually, the reasoning behind the rules
and regulations of dress codes is the ‘distraction’ excuse. They say that if a girl’s shoulder is
showing or a student has purple hair, it will magically distract everyone from class, preoccupying
them for the rest of the class period. Now, other than the distractions excuse, which isn’t
convincing, what are the rest of the incentives for these rules? Well, that’s the thing. There are
hardly any valid and reasonable justifications for such an oppressive school policy.
Strict school dress codes do not only lack logical reasoning behind them, but they also
limit the number of way a student can express themselves and their varying personalities. If a
student wanted to wear a hat or jeans with holes in them for the purposes of just favoring that
kind of style, there isn’t any reason they shouldn’t be able to. No one is going to get distracted by
normal hat on someone’s head or a little skin showing through someone’s jeans. Not unless the
student’s jeans were showing parts of the body that would be inappropriate, or the hat had
something hurtful written on it.
Schools also try to say that they like their students to look professional. But it’s not a job.
professional unless they’re in a certain club or presenting in class. They’re focusing on bringing
up ACT scores, and maintaining a high GPA. Students should feel obligated to dress up and look
like they have no personality, and then worry that they didn’t dress in the exact manor that they
wouldn’t get in trouble.
The dress codes for many high schools also seem to be particularly biased between male
and female students. While the dress code usually applies to both sexes, there are still many rules
like boys not being able to wear earrings, and girls not being allowed to wear anything that
exposes a bra strap. Girls are usually more targeted by dress codes than boys, but this is nothing
against them. Schools say boys will get distracted if a girl isn’t wearing shorts or shirts of
‘appropriate’ length, but the truth is, some may glance but most boys are normal people with
enough decency not to harass a girl for showing more skin than is allowed. That or they don’t
care because it’s really not that big of a deal. However, even if boys are supposed to be ‘easily
distracted by attractive girls’, then by the school’s own logic, girls can be just as easily distracted
by a boy.
While there are definitely true reasons to have dress codes, a code based off of the real
problems students face with clothing would be much different. Therefore, no matter the
circumstances, school dress codes are almost always too meticulous and most students don’t
require such rules that would cause such controversy.
A solution to this would be something as simple as taking out unnecessary rules and
adding ones that are the most appropriate for the school.
In short, uptight dress codes that limit student’s self-expression and are usually sexist
almost never have any real and sensible explanations. There have been many schools recently to
cut out strict dress codes and have no problems, showing that the strict dress codes are
purposeless. If other schools would just open up to trying a less strict dress code, there would be
less students getting in trouble for the things they wear, and more focus on actual school work
rather than things like being angry about dress code.