The Controversy Regarding Dress Codes in Schools

The Controversy Regarding Dress Codes in Schools

Willie Lopez Morales , Herald Staff

Over the years, dress codes have become a rising topic among adolescents. Dress codes are a set of rules put in place by schools, offices, and restaurants that specify the requirements when it comes to the way people dress. Dress codes are very common and are usually never challenged. In schools, these codes can be seen as controversial as students have felt they limit the creativity and expression of students, sexualize the bodies of females, and are used as an excuse to disregard students of societal issues. 

Through the use of uniforms, schools have been accused of limiting the free expression of students. Uniforms force students to wear the same colors every day and cause students to blend into the crowd. Teenagers in modern-day feel as though clothes are the way they express themselves to the world. They like to use different styles and wear items that display certain messages that they agree with. Angelina De Leon, a student from Holyoke High School, felt as though her personality was taken from her when her middle school implemented a dress code/uniform policy in her last year at the school. She states, “Schools should take into consideration having students use their creative minds to dress themselves the way they want to help them find their identity through the style that they wear.” She believes that students should have the freedom to wear what they want and not be restricted to the same clothing constantly. This is very common and many adolescents can identify with Angelina when it comes to uniform policies at their schools. 

One of the aspects of dress codes that have caused many students to feel uncomfortable is the common theme of administrators telling female students to “cover-up.” When it comes to the topic of somewhat revealing clothing students should not be attacked for wearing something if it is not completely inappropriate in the setting of a school. In society, it has become very apparent that bodies have become sexualized and telling a student to “cover-up” causes them to feel uncomfortable or objectified. Another student from Holyoke High School, James Keeler, states, “Female students do not need to cover up and we do not need to protect poor kids from bullying through uniforms we just need to teach people to be more respectful.” James feels as though students should have the freedom to wear whatever they are comfortable in without feeling like they are going to be targeted for it. This also raises the question to students and administrators as to where the line is drawn when it comes to the dress codes in their schools. 

Schools are seen as a formal setting where students are being educated and prepared for the real world. It is true that students should have the freedom to decide how they want to dress, but there can be arguments made that boundaries need to be set in place. In a professional setting, you are required to dress presentable and formally. Students should have in mind that, most of the time, when they enter the work field they will be required to dress in certain ways in order to maintain their job. What administrators in school buildings need to do is find a way to address students’ attire in a more respectful manner. It should be a priority that students feel comfortable and not objectified as well as making sure the values and opinions of all students are being validated.