The New Dress Code

The school incorporates a revised dress code, giving students leeway in clothing choices.

Caleb McDairmant & Betsy Armstrong, Design Editor & Writer

The dress code has been changed to give leeway to students for expressing themselves through the clothing that they choose to wear. Now, the dress code follows the district policy rather than the more structured, and less lenient dress code the school had the years prior.

“The discipline committee met and agreed that we weren’t doing a great job enforcing the [old] dress code,” principal Steve Loe said. “So, we decided to focus on the specific things, such as if that article of clothing truly distracted the learning environment.”

The most noticeable change to the dress code: hats and hoodies are now permitted during school hours, and teachers have been told to choose their battles. Band director Bill Thomas defended that the intent of the dress code is to maintain professionalism and protect students.  

“For safety and security reasons, I think it is wise not to wear hats because the bills cover up a person’s face and it becomes difficult to identify kids that are doing the wrong thing.”

The actual confrontation of dress coding is uncomfortable for both student and staff alike.

“It’s very difficult.  I always feel awkward or concerned,” Thomas said,  “It’s a hard conversation and for us teachers, especially in our world, that’s who we are.  It’s all about helping students grow up.”

This hard conversation is what led Loe to sit down with the faculty to discuss the dress code itself.

“Staff came together and agreed on a common language on what is considered “indecent” and what is considered a disruption to learning environments,” Loe said. Unless that article of clothing has something pro-drug (such as a marijuana leaf), then the article of clothing is deemed appropriate.”

The definition of what is inappropriate varies from person to person; what may be inappropriate to you, might not be inappropriate to the other person. Other students weighed in on leaving the dress code up for teacher interpretation, as well as what would classify as school appropriate. 

“I would define inappropriate as things that are too distracting to individuals in the classroom or the teacher,” English teacher Annie Flurry said. “So, for example, I always say for people to keep your secrets.  Obviously nothing profane on t-shirts, and that kinda stuff. But if it’s not vulgar, then it should be okay.”

However, clothing has become a popular way of self-expression, with many students expressing themselves directly through what brands, colors or type of clothing they choose to wear.

“It’s important to be able to express your individuality,” Flurry said. “Coming from growing up being educated through private school, I would have to wear uniforms. My friends and I would find any way possible to express ourselves– whether if it was from our socks or our shoes, we wanted our personality to show.”

But teaching core subjects is not the only role teachers and educators have in the educational system.

“One of our responsibilities as educators is to try and have students learn what is going to be acceptable and appropriate in certain environments,” Flurry said. “Its kinda like writing, you need to know your audience.  So, this is an environment of learning, and while i respect people who want to express themselves that way, public education building is probably not the way to do that.”

With the lack of structure, the dress code is good for students struggling to find their identity.

“I think the current dress code is very good for self discovery and finding out what they want to be and what they want to look like,” freshman Bella Tooley said. “It’s good to help them boost their self confidence. I think it’s good for people to feel better about themselves.”

The new code policy, or lack thereof, can allow students to be more expressive through fashion with fewer limits. The code says that students should still dress as if they are going to a place of employment. With this in mind, clothing can be used to express different personalities and cultures while being within set guidelines.