We’ve all done it. Nervously pulling down skirts when passing Mr. Turbeville in the hallways. Trying to hide collar-less necks under hoodies. Covering the waistband of leggings trying to pass them off as having belt-loops. So, the question is, why do we do it?
There are obvious reasons: “I didn’t have any clean jeans,” or “It just rides up. It actually is two inches.” But I think the real reason why we break dress code is that we are tired of it, tired of sweating throughout the entire day in our long-sleeved button-downs and uncomfortable jeans, so we dress as we think we should.
“The dress code is there to give the classroom a more formal and serious tone,” said the Dean of Students (and infamous dress-coder) Mr. Turbeville. “We want the impression to be that we take our education seriously.”
The dress code is there to make a professional environment on campus and in the classroom. However, we can still seem professional in regular clothing. Collared shirts are expensive and sometimes hard to find for girls. And, girls, I think you can all agree with me in saying that a two-inch limit is pretty unreasonable.
Mini-skirts are definitely inappropriate for a learning environment. A maximum of two inches above the knee, however, is a bit ridiculous. Skirts are either down to the floor, right at the knees, or four to five inches above the knees. And for those of us who have long legs, it is very hard to find skirts that are in dress code. Two inches on one person might be five or six inches on another.
I get why there’s a two-inch limit, and I get why we have to wear collared shirts. But one thing I do not understand is why our shoulders must be covered. Some of you may not know this, but the official school rule is that sleeves must be a straight line from the armpit.
Sleeveless shirts aren’t unprofessional or sexual, so there is no reason that we cannot wear them. If the First Lady of the United States can wear a sleeveless dress in her official White House portrait (it’s true, look it up), it should be okay for students to wear sleeveless shirts to school.
I understand that we must have a dress code that does not distract from the learning environment. But on the days when jeans are simply impossible to find, and laundry has not been done so you cannot find any clean polo or button-downs, being able to wear leggings or a regular shirt would be a nice relief.
The dress code sometimes takes a toll on people’s confidence. Not everyone feels comfortable in polo shirts and jeans. On days when people wear things that make them confident but are out of dress code, they get punished. Dress codes should make people feel good about themselves, not cause them stress over whether or not they will get detention.
When students wear clothes that make them feel good, they are much more confident and feel better about themselves. However, when students wear clothes that do not make them feel good, they act more timid and self-conscious throughout the day. Every school should want their students to feel good, but this dress code does not.
There is a big difference between a distracting learning environment and an oppressing learning environment. We need a dress code that would make our lives more comfortable and less stressful, while staying appropriate and not distracting. Loosening up on the dress code by allowing regular shirts, leggings, and a higher limit for skirts and shorts would do just that.
“We’ve never had a group of students petition to change the dress code,” said Turbeville. “But if there’s a proposal that still meets the intent of what the dress code is for, it could change.” I know other people feel the same way I do, and petitioning the dress code would greatly help us.
Change is possible. Altering the dress code is one way to make our lives less stressful. While it definitely should still look professional and formal, loosening up on the rules would be beneficial to creating a positive learning environment.