Are Dress Codes Biased?


Briana Ferreria, Staff Reporter

Dress codes are implemented in many places to create a professional atmosphere, but when students at West High School came back to school with a new dress code, many were unhappy. On August 26, many male West High School students came dressed in cropped tops to protest the new dress code.

Many of the students who were challenging the dress code ended up being sent to the office, but some argue it was not for the right reason. Dress codes are often unfairly directed and heavily enforced on girls, so why did the group of guys get dress coded? Junior Nathan Schmidt said that he and the other protestors “Had to be in a group yelling and screaming for anyone to notice.” Had they not drawn any attention to themselves, they likely would not have gotten dress coded or called out. Many other students pointed out the disparity and said that dress codes are sexist by unfairly targeting girls.

Page 34 of the student handbook says that students can not wear “Any clothing, apparel, or attire that fails to provide adequate coverage of the body.” When schools make vague statements like this, it leaves it up to the administration to interpret. This can in turn lead to students being unfairly dress coded based on biases or misunderstandings. Senior Angelina Thach, spoke for many students when she pointed out that “Girls walk around with little spaghetti straps” and get dress coded for it. The student handbook does not say that students are not allowed to wear spaghetti straps, yet girls have still gotten dress coded for it.

There is an obvious lack of communication between students and the administration about what is and is not allowed. The recent dress code changes were also made without any notice or student input. School is about ensuring that the students have a safe and comfortable learning environment to learn in, and who better to create said learning environment than the students themselves? When a majority of students are clearly upset with something, changes need to be made. The student handbook gets revised every year, so now would be a perfect time for students to get involved in the process.

Principal Annabelle Le, stated that “it would be good to have a student committee or have a couple students representing.” The administration should work with students to change the dress code and how it is enforced so we can understand what is and is not allowed, and why.