School systems across the country struggle to define a dress code for their students and tend to receive backlash from the community no matter what policy is put in place.
Some parents and students argue that clothing is a form of self-expression and interpretation of style. By restricting a child’s attire options, that child is being taught to conform to the standards that other people of set for them.
Additionally, community members often argue that the dress code policies are unfair between boys and girls. While girls are reprimanded for wearing tank tops and ripped jeans, boys are allowed to wear these articles of clothing with no repercussions. Perhaps if the rules applied to both boys and girls, the argument would not be so heated.
Not only are dress codes unfair between boys and girls, they are unfair among students and teachers as well. Countless times a teacher will walk into his or her classroom, dressed in attire that never would have been acceptable for a student to wear. If teachers are not held to the same level of accountability as their students in regards to dress code, students should not be forced to comply either.
Perhaps the most important reason not to enforce a strict dress code is due to the body shaming it causes girls. Girls who are stick-skinny are not typically disciplined for wearing leggings and tighter clothing, yet girls who have a healthy figure are forced to change. This can severely damage a child’s self-confidence and cause her to think that size matters, which it most certainly does not.
Admittedly, there is always concern among administrators that there will be several students who run wild if the dress code is removed. The line must be drawn somewhere, or students will arrive at school wearing nothing but the absolute minimum amount of clothing. After all, students are still maturing in their grade school years, and some are unlikely to make responsible attire choices that will not haunt them later in life.
Dress codes are an incredibly gray area where no one really knows how to make it 100 percent fair. It seems that the most consistent option would be to resort to school uniforms, accompanied by a casual dress Friday as a reward. Even so, no matter what decisions are made within a school system, there is sure to be backlash.