Changes in school dress code

This year, the school’s dress code became more vague and less strict. Girls are no longer specifically required to cover up their stomachs, cleavage, and undergarments.

“As a school, there should be an elevated state of mind. I dress appropriately in respect for what I am doing here. I want students to have that same respect,” said Assistant Principal Jesse Hansen.

The first difference is the addition of the phrase “supports college/career readiness” in the opening statement of the dress code article of the 2017 to 2018 Student Handbook.

“The purpose of a dress code is to promote a serious academic atmosphere that supports college and career readiness, and assures the physical and emotional safety of every individual,” said Hansen, underlining some of the reasons for the changes in the school’s dress code.

In addition, the previous statements that ban excess exposure of the torso, chest, belly, cleavage, or undergarments and short bottoms are simply summarized under a blanket statement that “clothing cannot be worn at school that overtly or inappropriately exposes a student’s body.”

“The dress code was skewed against the female body. It somehow seemed that the female body was more dangerous than the male body, and as a school we do not want to contribute to sexism,” said Hansen, explaining the reasoning behind the generalization.

Not only have rules on revealing clothing been generalized, but so have statements regarding hate speech. The dress code no longer specifically prohibits symbols like swastikas and the Confederate flag, prohibiting “offensive symbols used to intimidate or harass or includes hate messages or promotes violence such as guns or weapons.”

However, the administration interprets this to mean that the code prohibits rebel flags and swastikas, Hansen said.

In general, it seems the code and the school are allowing students more freedom to dress as they choose.

“It is true that revealing clothing is not enforced as harshly, but we are trying to be respectful to young people and not pick on certain people. The negative is that some people push it really far,” said Hansen.

“I think the whole concept of telling a woman that she needs to ‘cover up’ in order to make other people less uncomfortable puts the responsibility on our shoulders and in a way blames us for how other boys feel about our clothes, which isn’t a good lesson to teach young people about where the responsibility should lie,” said junior Katelyn Lance, a passionate feminist.

“Personally, I don’t dress for the male gaze, I only dress for myself. If you really can’t focus on your work because I have two inches of my stomach out, maybe you’re the one that needs help,” Lance said.

Honors Chemistry teacher Deborah Yager has never written up a dress code violation before and never plans to do so.

“Honestly I don’t pay that much attention to choices in wardrobe; I am much more interested in their outlook. Style is a freedom of choice,” said Yager.

However, Yager also commented on the importance of dressing appropriately.

“It is important for young women to realize that people will form perceptions of character based on appearance. Impressions matter,” continued Yager.

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