Are those shorts too short? Is that an off the shoulder top? Are those open toed shoes? Students face foolish problems like these on the daily. School dress codes have been around for ages without much change. They are meant to prohibit students from wearing certain styles or types of clothing. Despite this, school dress codes are not faultless. They fail to create a diverse, distraction free, and equal learning environment. For this reason, school dress codes need to change. School dress codes need to change due to their discrimination. To begin, dress codes are particularly directed toward females. They cause shaming that restricts the female body and causes body image issues (Sunseri). Strict dress codes teach women that they can’t be proud of their true selves. Restrictions place blame on females for wearing certain things and asking to be harrassed.
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A double standard is also common as there is a difference in enforcement between boys and girls (“Are”). In addition to this, dress codes can be viewed as racially and economically biased. When afro puffs and saggy pants are banned it shines a certain light on racially biased regulations (Robson). Economic status can be targeted when sweatpants and frayed clothing are restricted. Lastly, these restrictions force hard problems onto transgender students. Dress codes only allow students to dress as their legal registered sex (Are). Various guidelines including hair, jewelry, and makeup also limit transgender students (Robson).
On top of this, students believe school officials show biased enforcement towards transgender students (Are). Some argue that because there are more clothing options for females they should have more regulation, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that they get enforced more often. By fixing school dress codes discriminatory actions in school will reduce. School dress codes must evolve as they continue to bring distractions to the classroom. The opposition would argue that dress codes take away distractions but they actually take more away from learning than the clothes.
First, the issues that strict dress codes impose take time away from teachers being able to teach. Enforcement is difficult and takes needed time away from administrators and teachers (Hamilton 28). Staying aware of dress codes is wasted time, and teachers agree they should focus their energy on teaching instead (24). Second, dress code violations take learning time away from students. Choosing the wrong clothes can result in being kicked out of class or suspension (Robson). Students can be sent to the principal’s office and even ordered to go home for dress code situations (Are). Lastly, dress codes take focus away from important school work. Students are forced to stand and have their clothing inspected by teachers (Sunseri).
Dress codes try to take distractions away but instead fetish the length of a skirt (Robson). Students must face embarrassment by being called out in the middle of class for small violations that seem innocent (Sunseri). When focus is taken away from learning in school, it shows that dress codes are causing unnecessary issues. School dress codes fail to let students truly express themselves. Although some would argue that it is easy to dress within the code, there are still countless instances where this isn’t possible. To start, there is no real reason why they are around. Dress codes work to prohibit certain styles of clothes based on the fact that they express something (Robson). Appearance for students is protected under the First Amendment (Hamilton 18).
Neither the U.S. nor the states regulate school dress codes, only local school boards decide them. In 1925 the supreme court ruled that states do not have the power to standardize children, school dress codes seem to do just that (Robson). Expression can only be limited if it causes a foreseen disruption with school activities (Hamilton 18). When looking at school rules in this context, it’s clear they rely on anti-democratic principles (Robson). On another note, the expression that these dress codes still deny limits a student’s identity. Everyone should be able to feel beautiful and confident in the clothes that they wear to school (Sunseri). It’s hard for students to truly identify themselves with a constant dress code in place (Hamilton 28).
School dress codes continue to limit student’s right to express themselves. When looking at all sides of the issue, it is clear that school dress codes need to change. The discriminatory actions occurring inside of schools are reason for school dress codes to change. Additionally, changing dress codes puts more focus on schoolwork. Likewise, students being able to express themselves adds even more to creating an ideal learning environment. Overall, changing school dress codes will not only benefit school atmosphere but will also improve the lives of students.
Shorts Too Short. (2019, Nov 26).
Retrieved September 30, 2022 , from
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