Brush and Palette

To change or not to change – that is the question

Examining the dress code from multiple perspectives

Zoe Bowman and Sidney Koziarz

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As students returned to LBHS in September after a summer of fun, many were still dressed in their summer clothes such as shorts, tanks, dresses and off-the-shoulder tops to stay cool in the lingering Summer temperatures. However, many students soon realized that the administration would be enforcing the dress code closely when they were met with violations and asked to change.


“I believe that now is a good time to discuss the dress code because people today are more open to discussing gender equality and feminism,” said feminist club president and senior Bianca Brock.


Some students claim that the dress code isn’t as enforced for boys as it is for girls and that boys get away with dress code offenses like curse words and sexualization of women on their clothes.


“When I came here, since I’m new, it was important for me to acknowledge what was in writing by enforcing it, and if we don’t enforce it, we should take it out of writing,” said principal Jason Allemann regarding the importance of credibility among among administrative policies.


Administration, however, reminds that the policy has always been in place and hasn’t been changed. School is a place of education, and the policy fosters the best learning environment.


“In environments where I worked where there was a lot of gang-type activity, it was more common for males to be dress-coded. It revolves around safety and appropriateness,” said Allemann.


In the most recent years, fashion has started to become more bold and, in turn, so have the students. Tube tops, off-the-shoulder tops and belly shirts have come back into fashion, and due to the increase of these articles of clothing around school, there has been an increase in dress code violations, as well.


“The goal is to provide an undistracting educational environment. We are not blaming anyone,” said assistant principal Nikol King.


Senior Moragh Graff was dress-coded this year for wearing a full long-sleeve sweater; no midriff or cleavage was shown, just her shoulders.


“I don’t think it was that inappropriate to show my shoulders. Why can I wear a tank top, but I can’t wear an off-the-shoulder top? Either way, you see my shoulders,” questioned Graff.


Some students feel that some aspects of the dress code do not make much sense. One aspect of the dress code states that any garments that “impede the instructional program by distracting other students or staff” are not tolerated.  


“It makes a lot of people feel that the school is telling them that you are just an object of distraction. Even if what you are wearing is not that provocative, it just makes you feel uncomfortable, and your education isn’t as important as what you are wearing,” said Graff.

Many adults argue that we have to dress like we are at a job because school is our job. However, young adults are often quick to point out that this this is their time to find themselves through clothing choices.  


“We can’t show up to school in just our underwear anywhere, but we should be given the chance to express ourselves. I wore a dress and a toga to school.  I didn’t get dress-coded, but that was me expressing my humor, ” said senior Nicolas Besso.


Even if a girl’s shoulder distracts a male student, should the girl have to bear the responsibility alone?


“It is important to discuss feminism and women’s rights now because men and women in the U.S. still face various issues, such as stereotyping and objectification,” said Brock.  


“Additionally, many women outside of the U.S. are still fighting for their basic human rights. It is important to fight for women in our community and help those in other countries who are denied their basic human rights,” Brock said.


Current society is redefining the norms regarding gender relations, so if any students feel as though the dress code is not gender neutral, perhaps this is the right time for students to open dialogue with the administration regarding potential shifts in policy.


“I think that frustration with the dress code has accumulated, and it is clear that we can come up with a more progressive dress code that makes all parties comfortable on campus,” said Brock.


Administration seems to be nothing but supportive and even encouraging towards students who would like to express their views. Administration has indicated that any student who has a problem – not just the dress code, but with any school policy – should discuss the issue in advisory, do the necessary research, and then elect a student representative to talk to the principal.


“It’s your legal right to express your opinion. I applaud students who band together to fight for something they believe in,” said assistant principal King.

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To change or not to change – that is the question