Dress code in question

Students find dress code unnecessary and unfair

Sydney Smith talks about the issues of dress codes in front of the school board.

Photo courtesy of: Henrico County Public Schools meeting

Sydney Smith talks about the issues of dress codes in front of the school board.

Amy Brooks, Co-Editor-in-Chief

As students returned to school, some might have noticed leniency in the dress code compared to previous years. Walking through the halls, students are wearing clothes that are currently popular, which may not conform to the rules of staying “covered up” in school. The current trends include wearing tank tops, tight shirts that show some midriff, and clothing with intentional rips or tears.

   The dress code has changed within the past few years with rules regarding the width of straps and the acceptable length of skirts. Even though these changes help move towards making the dress code less focused on women’s clothing, there are still arguments being made to further change or even ban the dress code.

   At the beginning of October, Glen Allen High school senior, Sydney Smith, started a petition to take away the dress code completely within schools. Smith had the opportunity to speak in front of the school board and present her opinion. 

   “Dress codes teach women from a young age that their body should be hidden and that they shouldn’t feel comfortable in the clothes they choose to express themselves in. Is that really a message we want to send to our generation who’s trying to create change?” Smith said at the meeting.

   Reviewing the Student Code of Conduct, most of the requirements for clothing are generally more focused on not showing midriffs or undergarments. When these rules are enforced, more often than not, girls have to endure more consequences than guys. Since the reasoning behind these rules are meant to reduce the number of “distractions” in classrooms, dress codes are becoming a more controversial topic. What someone chooses to wear should not be considered a distraction unless it is revealing something inappropriate for school. Also, many of the so called distractions are more prejudiced toward the female body, considering that many of the guidelines put in place would rarely be something a male has to deal with. Even when they do, typically these rules aren’t enforced as strictly, as seen with the shorter shorts males are wearing to school as a new fashion style. 

   Junior Zenia Rai also doesn’t agree with how the dress code seems to target a specific group of students.

   “[The dress code] is sexist towards females because if boys were to wear what girls wore, they wouldn’t be told to change,” Rai said.

   With school reopening after the pandemic, Rai also noticed a change in how often the dress code was being enforced.

   “The dress code isn’t being heavily enforced, and I think it is a good thing because it allows [students] to express themselves and not feel like they have to dress a certain way to be considered acceptable,” Rai said.

   Though many students might agree with Rai, some believe that the dress code is somewhat necessary.

   “I agree to an extent. I think that it is sexist towards girls, but I think it can be reasonable sometimes,” senior Vera Lavrentyeva said.

   Lavrentyeva feels the dress code is somewhat necessary because of how it restricts students from showing up to school wearing little to no clothing. However, Lavrentyeva also understands the need for a change in dress code.

   “I think everyone should have a right to choose what they wear without other people telling them or restricting them from wearing what they want. Unless they wear something that is completely unacceptable to wear out in public,” Lavrentyeva said.

   As the school year continues, more students might start taking bigger chances when it comes to their clothing, but the atmosphere of expression has had a chance to grow. The leniency has given more students an opportunity to dress how they please. 

   With an understanding from both sides, Rai gave a final thought on the issue.

   “If students’ clothing is distracting to you, then that’s your problem, not theirs,” Rai said.