How Dress Code Affects our Students

Aneeza Ali

For the four years that I have attended Paducah Tilghman High School, we have always had a dress code. Personally, I have never been one to break the dress code, but its rules and regulations haven’t always sat right with me. When researching about dress codes, the main commonality between all is that this “code” is created to prevent distraction. Who are we distracting and how can we prevent this?

Senior Sage Hoffman said, “I have had personal experiences battling dress code. When walking into the Deans office I feel punished and ashamed. I shouldn’t have to feel that way about the clothes that I’m wearing confidently.”

From elementary school, girls are taught to dress modestly, as a piece of clothing may seem too “skimpy” for other male classmates. At such a young age, kids are focused on reading their first Harry Potter series or what their mom is making for dinner. It’s more inappropriate to teach our children that their bodies are unacceptable in the eyes of the male gaze.

During these first few weeks of school, I have noticed that most teachers favor male students when it comes to the clothes that they are wearing. A girl could be wearing the same length shorts as some of the males in this school, and yet get dress coded because they are a female. Most of the dress code is targeted at females in general, banning skirts and only “fingertip length shorts” for what it seems like only females. It appears the school cares about a female’s legs more than our education!

The most mind-blowing part about this whole regime is that sometimes it is simply just too hot to be dressed in long sleeves and baggy sweatpants. Tank tops are forbidden because shoulders are “too distracting.” A female can go into the grocery store with a tank and sweats on and will not even get looked at.

Fashion has evolved, along with our generation of students. Clothing brands no longer make fashionable items that fit the dress code. Clothes are a way of self-expression meant to make others feel comfortable in their own skin. School is supposedly supposed to be a safe environment, but female students have to worry about ruining their discipline records with a dress code violation.