School dress codes may be doing more harm than good


Nora Richards, Staff Writer

School dress code has potential to be helpful, but at most schools it is very restrictive and sexist. Many schools around the country have had protests to fight for a more fair and reasonable dress code. One main reason behind the movement against dress codes is because it can be a form of sexualizing girls’ bodies. 

If a teacher tells a girl to put on a sweatshirt because she has too much cleavage showing, it is implying that someone could be distracted by her body. It is not only inappropriate to sexualize students at such a young age, but could also make them self conscious.

“I never see boys getting called out for wearing tank tops or ripped jeans. But if a girl wears them, she will get dress-coded and humiliated in front of everyone,” said Zainab Alkhanfar, sophomore.

Every school’s dress code differs, but some of the same rules stay constant such as girls cannot show too much of their shoulders, their shorts must be as long as where their fingertips fall, no ripped jeans, no tight clothing. Teachers claim that these things are distracting, and can interfere with learning. 

“I understand that some clothing is too revealing or has inappropriate words on it, but if a teacher is criticizing students for how their body fits into a shirt or the fact that their tank top straps are not three fingers wide, that’s when I don’t understand it,” said Enzo Moscatello, freshman.

Many students agree that it is uncomfortable when a teacher dress codes you and makes you feel self conscious. If a school staff member finds students’ bodies distracting, they should not be teaching. ​​Girls who are subjected to unjust dress code requirements are more likely to experience negative emotions such as shame and anxiety. If repeated, it could eventually lead to long-term psychological harm. It is unfair to have girls most targeted with the rules of dress code and create such a dilemma over someone’s outfit at school. 

“I feel bad for my friends at other schools that have a strict dress code. They complain about how they can’t wear the new shirt they bought for school, because of the way it fits their body or even the small amount of skin it shows,” said Diya Bhatia, freshman.

Students struggle to get ready for school in the morning due to the fact that they always have to be thinking about dress code rules. It eliminates the strength of diversity from the school and limits the options on how students can express themselves. 

If a student gets in trouble for wearing something that violates the dress code, their detention or even suspension can take focus away from education. Colleges will look at these types of situations and not know the reasoning behind it.

There are definitely reasonable rules in normal dress codes such as no offensive or inappropriate designs, or no extremely baggy or bulky clothing (prevents students from hiding weapons). But many of the standard norms are restrictive and unneeded for students to concentrate in school.