Decoding the dress code

Decoding the dress code

by Owen C.

Most people in school are guaranteed one of two things: getting freaked out over a test or being reprimanded for not following the dress code. So when did this phenomenon begin?

The first school dress code law was established in 1969 by the U.S Supreme Court. The case was Tinker vs Des Moines school district, and it involved several students who wore black armbands in protest of the Vietnam War. 

While the administration isn’t worried about Vietnam War protests at Duxbury High School, the school has created its own dress code. 

On page 53 of the DHS student handbook, in subsection Dress, it states, “Clothing with spaghetti straps, or which is strapless, backless, low-cut, see-through, or which reveals the midriff or undergarments should not be worn in school. Shorts, skirts, and dresses need to be of an appropriate length for school.” 

Most if not all of these requirements are targeted towards girls or people who dress more femininely. The line where it says “Shorts, skirts, and dresses need to be of an appropriate length …” never specifies how long they need to be and it is left too ambiguous. This allows staff to make judgments based on their personal preference rather than the actual code of conduct. 

I am not advocating for everyone to wear anything to school without any repercussions but I do believe that people should not be singled out for what they choose to wear.

The school’s dress code picks and chooses when they want to be flexible with certain rules. I decided to test one of these rules and see how enforced the rules are for a male. On page 53, in subsection Dress, it states, “In general, hoods are not to be worn at any time once a student has entered the building.” 

So I wore my hood and walked into the vice principal’s office for a meeting.  That whole time neither of us acknowledged the fact that I was wearing a hood despite it being one of the first rules of the dress code in the student handbook. 

To fully understand and test out my theory another person I knew decided to wear spaghetti straps to school and walk through the hallways. Within seconds she was stopped by a teacher and told to cover up because she was “too exposed.” This proves that the people in charge will predominantly only point out a dress code violation if that person is female.
The change I would like to see is to have finite rules of dress code and have them be it implemented on EVERYONE or ease back on the inherently misogynistic dress code and not shame people for what they want to wear if it is not hurting anybody.

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