I remember going to public school in Rockford and I agree that a uniform policy would reduce distractions — if the boys wear jumpsuits and the girls, burkas. It seems intuitive that forcing students to dress alike in clothes that reduce the possibility of distraction and impede the ability to hide guns, knives and drugs is a good idea. Nobody wants a gangland fight in the middle of algebra.
The controversy has raised a key question for educators nationwide: What should an ideal dress code policy look like? In our New Jersey school district, a coalition of parents and students is working with district leadership to create a fairer policy. In June student-led advocacy forced South Orange Middle School to change its discriminatory swimsuit policy, allowing girls the option to wear two-piece suits to school swim events (which had been banned). This is a step in the right direction.
3. The school personnel must use a language that doesn’t shame (or distract) students when discussing dress code in announcements, emails or the classroom. For example, a superintendent at recently called dress code violators “skanks.” In a North Dakota school that banned yoga pants, clips of the movie “Pretty Woman,” which stars Julia Roberts as a Hollywood streetwalker, were shown in school, and female students were compared to prostitutes.
Some schools are very strict about their school uniforms and the appearance of their pupils, while other schools have a very relaxed dress code.
The public school dress code is questionable in that is the wardrobe of students really affecting the way they learn and act, and are some of the codes really necessary....
If there is no change made to the student dress code, than the school must enforce every rule of the dress conduct to every student and staff member....
Sometimes, that dress code bans clothing that I, as a parent, would consider appropriate (both shorter shorts and spaghetti straps sometimes come in fabrics or styles I would allow), but that’s fine — a minor casualty in the support of a greater good. School isn’t a bedroom. And it isn’t a park, a swimming pool, or a gym. In an ideal world, students would naturally adjust to this without rules, but then, in a perfect world, they’d also go home and practice those algebraic equations on their own until they mastered them.
Here in suburban New Jersey, the leaves are changing color, and the air is crisp and cool. It is hard to imagine that a few months ago my now fleece-clad daughters were gearing up for summer vacation. As they sweated it out in steamy classrooms, so began the steady stream of announcements from their school in South Orange–Maplewood to cover up. In our district, like many others, enforcement of the dress code is an annual ritual — one aimed nearly exclusively at girls.
As a parent of three teens, I am accustomed to the routine. As I wrote in a June essay for Slate, two years ago, when she was in sixth grade. Her offense: shorts that didn’t meet the school’s dress code (which requires that shorts and skirts must “reach to the fingertips of the extended arm”). She spent the day donning an oversize shirt to cover her body as a punishment.
Research shows, that dress code policies may increase the chance of a child safety in school by a very low percentage, but that still affects the child in a positive way (“Do uniforms make schools better?”, 2...
Unless it’s unevenly applied (as in schools where the dress code applies only to girls, or is enforced more stringently for some students than for others), that form of dress code seems to me to be a reasonable way of setting school apart. My children’s school has a dress code, the intent of which has always seemed to be nothing more than to have all students appear at school wearing the same kinds of clothes that most parents would have insisted on — clean, without holes, and just a step beyond play clothes.
The trend has created a new front in the dress code wars. Refusing to be shamed, girls are instead raising their voices. They are demanding to be treated with fairness — as more than the sum of their body parts and more than a classroom distraction to boys. Students at , and , have recently walked out of classes, protesting strict and unfair dress code enforcement.
But more needs to be done. Our coalition is seeking a change of perspective and focus away from the culture of punishment, blame and shaming and toward one of equality and respect. Our goal is to create a districtwide policy that ensures equal treatment of girls, including fair messaging to and expectations of boys. We hope to promote a healthy dialogue among students and faculty about sexism and stereotypes. In consultation with district leadership, we formed a task force this fall to help gather input from the community and provide feedback to and meet regularly with the local school board, district superintendent and school principals to establish a new, collaborative and appropriate dress code policy that will be in place by spring 2015.