The deal with dress code

School board updates dress code policy


photo credit: Casi Thedford

Every day is a jeans day \\ Next school year, students may wear jeans any day of the week, opposed to the current policy in place of Thursdays and Fridays only. The school board approved updates to the standardized dress code at the last board meeting.

writer: Shelby Perry, Digital Media Editor

Picture this: A student is rushing to get ready on a Monday morning to leave for school. She’s behind on laundry, and the clock is ticking. She fumbles through her closet searching for a collared shirt acceptable for Monday’s standardized dress. Time is running out and a clean polo is nowhere to be found. She panics and grabs a gray Cowboys sweatshirt off the hanger and throws it on. As she arrives on campus and begins rushing through the busy hallways to beat the first period bell, she is met with a scowling look from her teacher, and a stern gesture towards the office of 108. Where she will not only receive a tardy slip, but have to make a not-so-happy phone call to her mother who will need to bring her standardized-dress approved top. This student is now a frequent petitioner of the anti-dress code movement.

Every two years the school board comes together to reevaluate the district dress code policy, and due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that discussion was pushed back to this year. The bad news? Still no sweatpants, still no holes, rips, or tears in jeans, and collared shirts are here to stay. The good news? Jeans are a yes for everyday of the week, pants are no longer limited to a certain color scheme, any solid color is fine, and patterned polos and collared shirts are now acceptable as well.

Alterations are constantly being made for the benefit of the student body, but the dress code is not at all where it should be.

— Miles Maresch, junior

“Alterations are constantly being made for the benefit of the student body,” junior Miles Maresch said. “But the dress code is not at all where it should be.”

While the school’s standardized dress aims to protect the student body from various forms of bullying, harassment, and distraction, many claim the effects are quite the opposite. 

“Polos were put into place to avoid forcing students of lower income households to stand out and therefore prevent bullying. However, the quality of clothes and lack of owning ‘brand name’ uniforms still causes bullying to occur,” Maresch said. “Not to mention, the lack of allowing sweatpants doesn’t make sense. The goal is trying to prevent distracting clothing, however sweatpants are unrevealing and draw little to no attention.”

Another frustration towards the dress code enforcement is due to the assumption that students of all body types would feel comfortable in the same styles of clothing. 

“I find polos to be ridiculous because the way that they fit primarily caters to smaller and skinnier girls. Girls that are overweight often feel really uncomfortable in the tight-fitting style of a polo. I feel that many dress code violations are demeaning to not only women, but plus-sized students as a whole,” junior Brittany Erwin said. “ I’ve witnessed plus-sized girls get dress coded at dances for wearing the same ‘revealing’ dresses that smaller girls were allowed to wear with no questioning whatsoever. I don’t personally agree with many of these restrictions, however any change makes me happy that we are headed in the right direction”

And while the restrictions aim at eliminating harassment and disrespect, some students feel that the regulations create an unsafe and humiliating environment.

“I’ve had times where the only demeaning and disrespectful comments were from teachers,” Maresch said. ”I had one teacher pull up my shirt to tell me my shorts were too short. This was humiliating and caused me to feel publicly embarrassed because an authority figure gave my peers an open door to continue the negative commentary she had started. Without the dress code, no teacher would have had any justification for pulling up my waistband and measuring my shorts in front of the class. However, due to the school uniform, it was allowed and warranted in order to enforce the rules.”

However, even though a majority of the student body does not stand in particular favor of the dress code, there are plenty of students who sympathize and understand with the rules set in place that are intended to form a safe and respectful learning environment. 

“I think it is fair to have certain restrictions set in place,” freshman Ellie Eason said. “For example, it makes sense to have our skirts and shorts limited to a certain length so that students don’t end up wearing something way too short.”

Students have a few suggestions for dress code changes in the future. A common argument is that the student dress code should not be made to cater to “distracted” students with the intention of harassing and bullying other students for how they dress. Therefore, Instead of cutting down on sweatpants and ripped jeans, anti-dress code students suggest enforcing consequences for those doing the bullying.

“The best change I think can be made is to let individuality be expressed and set limitations on content on the clothing such as curse words, slurs, or hate speech, rather than restricting the clothing items themselves,” Maresch said. “We cannot control having body parts, therefore the focus should be on eliminating the disrespect, as opposed to eliminating the cause of the disrespect.”

And while the current dress code is not quite at that standard yet, these upcoming changes are one step closer to a more relaxed and expressive environment.

“I’m so glad we are making these changes because I will be way more excited to get ready in the morning and put on different things than just khakis and black pants,” Eason said. “I think the school district will loosen up because we make changes to the dress code every other year and each time, it gets one step closer to a more enjoyable school environment.”