School Dress Codes: When Do They Go Too Far?

School Dress Codes: When Do They Go Too Far?


– All right, what’s the
one thing that this shirt, this cap, this do-rag, even these pants, what do they all have in common? They’re all clothes that
schools have banned. Take a look at this scene. Does it seem familiar to you? (fast-paced techno music) – [Principal] Your shirt’s inappropriate. Cover your shoulders Take off your cap, and no jeans with rips. – If you’re in high
school or middle school, dress codes are probably something that you’re really familiar with. Most dress codes require
students to dress modestly, so they don’t distract or
interfere with learning. I remember when I was in middle school, we had to wear uniforms, but you weren’t allowed to have long hair. And I had braids, so
the first day of school, they literally were like, “Yo,
cut your hair, or get out.” And in recent years, this old
school dress code thinking has gotten heat from opponents
who say these policies are sexist and racist, because
they typically target women and people of color by banning
the things they might wear, like short skirts, thin tank tops, or dreadlocks and braids. Like this little boy, who
was banned from school, because of his dreads. According to this analysis, from Pudding, the average dress code bans 32 items with numbers reaching as high as 97. It’s becoming such a problem, that students are using
social media to expose this. And it’s been getting a
lot of media attention, like this viral video from a
Texas school that was meant to teach students the dress
code, but missed the mark. (“Bad Girls” By M.I.A.) So the big question is, how should schools decide on dress codes? This is where our friends
from Etiwanda High School in Southern California come in. So let’s talk to Samantha,
Sesha, David, and Zhenwei. These students are part of a national youth journalism program called PBS NewsHour
Student Reporting Labs. They researched, wrote, and
helped produce this episode of Above the Noise. – We asked students from other
schools around the nation about how they feel
about their dress codes. – I think that the dress
code is extremely biased and it favors the guys, obviously, because they can get away with more. – When girls getting pulled out of class, or a boy is getting pulled out of class, so that they can go home or fix their clothes, it
disrupts their education. – Personally, I’m not in
support of dress code, because I don’t like the
fact that they take away your expressions with
how you present yourself. – Some students are so upset
by their dress code policies, they’re taking matters
into their own hands and trying to get their
dress code changed. Like the students from
Lincoln Middle School, in Alameda, California. They worked with their
teacher to demand change to the school’s dress
code policy back in 2016. I think that they’re the perfect issue to get students involved in, because it’s something so critical, just almost like homework policy to hear students’ voices in. So the more student input on dress codes, I think, the better. – I was wearing just ripped jeans that maybe had two holes in them, both on the knees,
nowhere higher than that, and just a plain
high-collared shirt like this. I was getting pulled out of class, and I think that’s just not necessary. It was disrupting my day at school and made me feel really bad about myself. – Boys and girls were
wearing ripped jeans. And girls were way more targeted
and stopped by teachers. I was involved in school leadership, and we were listening to students, and when this came up repeatedly, we knew that there was a problem. – I ended up writing a couple of speeches to present to the faculty
here, and to the school board. – We really wanted to try
to create an atmosphere that was more welcoming, where kids felt like
they could be themselves. And so, when we told the district that, they really started to listen. It ended up being myself as a teacher, and four middle school students from Lincoln Middle School, where I teach, who got to sit down with administrators from all over our school district to come together and discuss how are we going to make
these necessary changes? Our goal is for students to be in class, and being able to focus on learning. Not so much focused on
what they look like, or what other people are
thinking they look like, or are they going to get in trouble for what they’re wearing? – Okay, so we’ve heard loud and clear from many students, that they think their school’s dress
code is just too strict. But believe it or not,
some students do think a more strict dress code helps
students focus on learning. – Dress code’s very important
to have at a school, because the students represent the school, the students and staff. And the students should represent
the school appropriately, and they shouldn’t really take school as a “let me show off my body.” – It’s kind of important
to a certain extent, because there are a lot of people who walk around with pajama pants. And I feel like that’s too casual. I think there’s a fine
line between being casual and being really dressed up, though. – Many schools and administrators
see strict dress codes as a way to instill discipline and prepare students for
the professional world. Lots of jobs require employees to dress according to a set
of professional standards. Like, you don’t see many cropped tops and jorts in a typical office. (wolf whistle) And there are lots of jobs that even require uniforms,
so the argument goes. By having a dress code in schools, students are more disciplined and better prepared for
life in the workforce. – [Zhenwei] We talked to Azande Aikens, assistant principal of discipline
at Etiwanda High School. He thinks the dress code
minimizes distractions and prepares students for
college and career readiness. – I think dress code benefits
the student body in general, in a number of different ways. One, it just helps sets guidelines, or just helps students
understand some of the things that they should and
should not be wearing. It also provides a safe
learning environment. When I say that, really, I’m focusing on things that are more offensive. In safety, for example, wearing a ring that’s very heavy or that
you could injure someone, things like that. I think there will always be some type of dress code in place. Student voice is very powerful. I like hearing from the students,
especially on this topic. Making adjustments as things
change, and time changes, I think that’s something that, definitely, that districts and schools will look at. – So Zhenwei, for you, what do you think are the big takeaways from this? – It seems the conversation
about dress code is never going to end. But I think schools
should really be listening to the youth and their
opinions on dress code, because we’re impacted
the most by this system. Right, Myles? – Right. It’s a tricky situation. How do you balance school
rules with student rights? We understand that rules are necessary, but that doesn’t mean that they have to be sexist and racist. So now we want to hear from you. Consider your personal
experiences with dress codes. What do you think is the best way for a school to decide on a dress code? Let us know in the comments below. Special thanks to Etiwanda High School, and journalists Zhenwei,
Sesha, David, and Samantha for providing ideas and helping us on the creation of this video. And thanks to our partners at PBS SoCal. And if you liked this
video, check out this one from students from Northview High School. And stay tuned for more episodes
like this one, coming up. And for all you teachers out there, your students can join the
discussion on KQED Learn. And as always, I’m your host Myles Bess. Remember, stay Above the Noise. Like, subscribe, you know
the routine at this point. Till next time. Bye. See you later. Peace out. (laughs)

100 Replies to “School Dress Codes: When Do They Go Too Far?”

  1. We had a dress code because adults and students from other schools would come and start riots or other shit. Anyways great video!

  2. My dress code is very chill
    It's like, nothing inappropriate. Lots of people wear ripped jeans, show their shoulders/stomachs, and my school is a very good one

  3. Dresscode does take away some expression.
    It often targets "trends" so makes shopping for clothes becomes harder for teens and parents.

  4. I wore a uniform in high school. There were no arguments about it you wore it or you went to another school. School is a job and you should dress the way you would at work.

  5. I once had an American history teacher try to tell me that children don't have any rights, period. I actually had to take that class twice, because I proved him wrong and he wasn't manly enough to not let his ego get the best of him and purposely failed me. I retook the class again, the following semester with a different teacher and pass the class with an above average grade. So you know I was purposely failed the first time around.
    Children do have rights, to say otherwise makes you an idiot.
    [I'm 29 now]

    Yes, school dress codes do take it too far sometimes, but they should still exist. They should change with the times, but getting rid of them would be wrong. So, we should balance them so they aren't taking away from the students ability to learn and aren't racist or sexist, but they should continue to exist. I think they instill good values.

    I will keep praying.
    Great video, keep up the good work. God bless!
    Have a nice day/night.
    —————————————– with luv from a nerdy Christian.

  6. 1)The High School years are a time where people begin to want to demonstrate their independence from Adults (often seen as rebellion and sometimes it is). It has always been this way and it will always be this way. Also, every generation' style of music and clothes changes. This is more often a style preference not a moral abdication.
    2) In contrast to this, Adults still feel (and often legally are) responsible for the safety of these under-age people. At some point the independence can be seen as a challenge to the authority these Adults need (or feel they need) to do their job and/or fulfill their responsibilities. This is not like A Bug's Life ants v grasshoppers thing; but in in some ways. In schools, the students do outnumber the Adults and that can get out of balance so the Adults need some extra authority to balance that out. Also, the Grasshoppers (I mean Adults) are wanting to help the Ants (I mean students) and to keep helping them, they do have other Adults they have to answer to.
    3) It is possible to find a balance between 1 & 2; but, it is highly unlikely that you will ever get 100% buy in; and, once things escalate, the emotions can make seeing and acknowledging the view of the other group VERY difficult. If both groups can find a way to value the other group and their differences offer sincere help (not my way or the highway) then I believe they can work together and find a path that they can be both proud of.

  7. Never had a dress code at school. Never heared of anyone getting in trouble because of that.
    I think the best solution would be to have general rules like "nothing dangerous, nothing inappropriate, nothing illegal" and just juge case-by-case.
    Yes, that's the open door to discrimination. But you don't solve discrimination with rules. You solve it by changing people's state of mind.

  8. I went to catholic high school in Argentina. I was made to wear a skirt for the most part of the year. And god did I hate it. I'd never choose to wear skirts on my own because I feel overly exposed and they are not very comfortable (you cannot sit in certain positions, run freely…). We also were made to wear them even when it was very cold and we would be punished if we chose to wear pants. And some girls would get punished due to the length of their skirts. To sum up, I hate uniforms. And don't think anyone should be made to wear them. I believe schools should just trust their student's common sense.

  9. 3:55 – They're allowed to wear pajamas in class, and they're still complaining. Spoiled kids. ¬_¬
    4:18 – Adam is a smart kid. 👍 School is for learning, not "expressing yourself"; you can express yourself everywhere else. 🙄

    Treat clothes in school like porn; as Justice Potter Stewart said, I can't define it, but I know it when I see it. Problem solved.

  10. I prefer school uniforms. A button shirt and plain colored pants or shorts with no holes in them. If kids want to express themselves they could still do so as long as they have that basic set of clothing.

    Its not because I dislike expression and free speech, it's because I think people should be focusing on education in school and not on clothing choices.

  11. I had a strict dress code at the high school I attended and trying to adhere to the rules caused me to spend a significant amount of time and money on "appropriate" clothing (collared shirts, plain colored pants, and college sweatshirts only). The dress code did not benefit my learning and made me extremely bitter towards the administrators at the school. Girls at the school had a much tougher time adhering to the dress code than boys, although boys tended to get punished more frequently than girls for infractions.

    Teenagers are young and inexperienced. They naturally want to explore the world of fashion to find types of clothing that work for them and make them feel good. A few people at every school may push this to an extreme and would benefit from some guidance around appropriate taste, but to implement a strict dress code to create a "safe space" is going too far. The safe space movement has removed so many obstacles and challenges for our youth that it is creating young adults who lack the skills necessary to deal with the challenges life throws at them. Allowing students to figure out on their own what is appropriate and what is not is much more beneficial to the development of well-functioning teenagers and young adults.

  12. My school is an arts high school, and their dress code is pretty chill (the school is pretty chill overall). Reason being that they want students to express themselves. The dress code is no crop tops and really high high heels, but even at that, most teachers don’t care

  13. I’d definitely be on the school uniform side. It brings everyone on the same level, prevents some kids to flex and others to look like shit.
    Also in the video they say girls are getting bossed around the most. If you think about it, it’s because girls are just more likely to show off their body. Girls wanna be sexy and at this kind of age they start experimenting with their style, sometimes it’s simply a distraction for the guys. Who knows maybe even the teachers.
    That is not to say that guys don’t show off, but logically what can a show that could distract others.

  14. 'Hey, that's the school where they're allowed to show their SHOULDERS'
    'Yeah, they are also the school with the better grades and teachers in the entire galaxy'
    BUT SHOULDERS

  15. Where i live (Italy) there is no such a thing as a dress code, except in elementary school where, in some schools, students should have uniforms to 'be equal' and no one would be biased by their clothing (es: hey, that person has Gucci and that person has their grandma's shirt, so i will treat worse the poor student).
    Of course, they fucked it up gendering things. With white and black uniforms.

    Also, you can still teach how to prepare to dress for the future without making them dressing like small sized adults.

    Last thing. Distracting? You all better work on your attention span, instead of focusing on skin.

  16. Yo these dress codes are silly, i wanted to attend classes in undergarments, but they are not allowing me to do. it keeps me kool and focus on what the teacher is saying. they are taking away my focus with their silly rules. come-on man which year we are in, still these kinda stuff?

  17. Normal schools let you wear almost everything here, painted hair, long, bald, skirt or ripped jeans.

    I like it that way. Makes room for goths and hardrockers, all kinds of weird interesting styles.

  18. Back in the early 1980's, I was involved with a group of about 18 girls across all levels of our Secondary School (Yrs 7 to 12, for those outside of Australia), who got together to write some persuasive arguments to allow girls to wear pants in Winter, and for the whole school to be allowed beanies, scarves and gloves as well. My argument dwelled on the fact that all my extremities (fingers, toes and tops of my ears) were continuously covered in ointments and bandaids due to chilblains. I couldn't write quickly, let alone neatly when I couldn't feel my fingers, or when all that I could feel was stinging pain. Mum would plait my hair low against my ears to help protect them as head bands weren't even allowed either. Getting home from school, I would spend about 20 minutes with my hands and feet in a bucket of luke-warm water, with Mum adding a little hot water from the kettle to gradually warm me up every 5 mins or so until the thermometer read 40; THEN I would be allowed to have a bath (this was Dr's orders). I've lived in central Victoria all my life, we don't as a rule get snow, but we do get wind-blown. I was a kid who would wear a cardigan through Summer, and wished to hibernate the Winter away. Another girl demanded the male teachers and boys to wear kilts and tights "for even one hour and see if they liked their nether regions being frozen, or to stop refusing the girls toilet breaks that frozen nether regions insisted on more frequently". Another girl asked for a head count of the female staff that came to work in a dress or skirt all through the colder months. Another, older and more out-spoken girl, said the uniform was "sexist and way behind the times" and "that they should be happy we were wanting to cover ourselves up more rather than less". We didn't mind what colour, or anything like that, we simply wanted to be warmer. I can't remember any more of the "arguments", but the Principal decided on the spot to hold a special, whole school assembly the following week – provided we each read out our arguments in that assembly – so that the whole school could vote on it. I was terrified – I never spoke up in class, how did they expect me to talk in front of the whole school? And on such a painful (and for me, humiliating) subject as my awful chilblains? I was only in Year 8, and very shy. The out-spoken girl told me and another "stricken" girl, that the hard work was already done – we had our arguments already written out. All we had to do was to read them out, and she was happy to help us practice like she did while we were preparing to meet with the Principal. She said she wouldn't blame us if we didn't look at the audience at all. I looked at the Principal, and he nodded! I could see he was willing to help where he could. So it was arranged; so it happened. Our audience gave us a standing ovation!! Our Principal then made the announcement that provided we wore Navy Slacks (not skin-tight pants) (I wore tights under my pants as well!)and Navy accessories, we could wear them as our winter uniform for the rest of that Winter! By the following Winter, we had a decently warmer, more formal Winter Uniform to wear! Sorry, this is a long one.

  19. Ha America! I can wear whatever I want to school.
    And homework. Who does them anymore?
    Well I can wear what I wear since I am 8 to work too and it is not dress code confirm.

  20. oof you ask people of the age of 50+ to change the way they grow up, thats not gonna happen , things change when the oldies die and the new era comes to ruling and thats a fact

  21. I went from private(kindergarten to 8th) to public school so I was happy when I didn't have to wear a uniform. It only lasted two years though, since my public high school started requiring uniforms during the last two years I was there. I think if you are going to have holes in your clothing for fashion it should be restricted to something relatively small, unless it is in a place that doesn't matter if it is covered, like below the knee or the back of a shirt. Instead of kicking people out of class or sending them to the office, just give them a warning so they know they need to change the next time they come to school, unless it really is distracting people in a class.

    On the issue of hair, piercings , and other things, I think all of my schools had a length of hair and style requirements for boys and girls and things have changed so much since then. My parents agreed with the school, so it wasn't an issue. If it were my kids are in a public school, I think the dress code should be more lax since they have to be there. For private schools, you make the choice to send your kids there and they should know it isn't going to be the same. It just seems that whatever one student should do, all should be free to do, but there are some dumb things that people put on and put in their hair. Just google "dumb haircuts" and you have to ask yourself where do you draw the line because I couldn't care less about braids, but are swastikas cool? The hammer and sickle seems innocuous enough, but different people have different opinions to what it stands for and some would take offense. If no one ever gets offended or distracted, then I guess it doesn't matter but that isn't our culture. No matter how much we want free speech and to express ourselves as an extension of that through style, there are places we give up those freedoms. I've been to courthouses that don't let you in without tucking in your shirt if you look like a male, while women don't have to bother, even if they have pants and a shirt on.

    Either sex should be able to be in clothing that makes them comfortable, while not showing off crotch, ass, or chest and hair shouldn't look ridiculous or sport things that are generally offensive. The problem is that it is subjective, same as gauging your ears and lip in some tribal societies, or the Dutch people and blackface. It is a tradition there but not in the U.S. and that is because the context is subjective and it can change over time. If it didn't, we'd still have blackface in the U.S. which to us is crazy racist.

  22. Uniforms are mandatory from elementary to high school here in vietnam. I even had to wear uniforms in kindergarten lol.
    Ao dai – vietnamese women traditional clothing is required for high school on assembly morning once a week. You'll be punished just like in the video if you got caught not wearing one. Although ao dai isn't the best clothing for hot climate, we all accept and proud of them. Sexist isn't a thing in vietnam.
    Universities are less strict on the rules, but they still have basics dress codes like the vid mentioned. No distracting clothes / styles. And also ao dai.
    I would say students should focus more on the actual lessons, not on their appearances in school, as i can see the american education system isn't very good now.

  23. Remember your intentions at that age?
    I bet you it was never ever to pose a statement, or to express your self. Those are expressionless bubbles one submits without ever thinking about its meaning, whilst hiding the true intentions.
    It's peer pressure and striding for higher status in the ranks of society.
    To put it in practical perspective; When everybody wears crop tops, everybody is equal. Status in the hierarchy of all our society does not come from equality, it comes from being "special". The more "specially" daring one is in society, the more he stands out. The more he stands out, the more he attention he is paid. The more attention he gets, the more important he feels. Feeling turns into words, words form reality. And reality dictates the new standard in equality.
    If this is not true, why do you coordinate your style so that it fits the "zeitgeist"?

    I remember asking my friend about his opinion about my new pullover. He said he didn't like it. I felt bad enough to have my day ruined.
    I do care. After all I live in a society and I am dependent on it. So is every body else. Therefore we all can not simply ignore the social dynamics of even the seemingly smallest of our actions.

    To talk about "Freedom" in this matter is definitely not the correct term to use. Freedom is never to be found in any totalitarian regulation, whilst in this case the rule to wear what ever one likes. Loneliness and in consequence depression on the other hand is found in any totalitarian regulation.
    Let children define their own standard for dress code, and you'll see children having to fight issues with low and twisted self esteem and all variations up to depression and suicidal tendencies.
    Think about it practically again. What kind of picture goes on Instagram? The more provoking, sexy, bad ass what ever kind of picture, that pretty much aims at trumping everybody else. This "style" must be transported consequentially into every day life in order to seem congruent.
    Do you think the endless, day in and day out battle for glory and status is what should define any humans reality?

    So in consequence, boundaries must be set for a dress code at any given situation, especially at school.
    I think it's correct to send students home to fix their clothes when they are torn, show to much skin, or cover their hair or face.

  24. Yes, there are many offices with a dress code.
    But that's a problem by itself just as the dress code in schools. You won't be a better accountant because you're wearing a suit. In some situations, it's even the other way around. When it's a hot day you feel more comfortable and can concentrate better on your work if you're not wearing long pants and a tie.
    We can't just tell our kids that perhaps they might face this problem some day in their life anyway so they better learn to deal with it right now. We should get rid of the problem instead of learning to deal with it.

  25. Here in Germany your ordinary school doesn't have any rules on clothes and people don't run around in pajamas or bikinis
    so in my opinion there is very little need in those rules
    beyond that, it's not like (for example) jeans ripped on the knees are the cause for much distractions
    i personally can't see these pros in dress codes

  26. It sounds like the dress codes at school should be focused more on harm reduction (such as banning articles of clothing with designs that promote hate speech, or risk physically harming the wearer) and a lot less on enforcing cultural conformity (as many of the most contentious dress code policies are geared towards the benefit of cis, white Protestant male students and are often unevenly enforced against literally everyone else). Uniforms certainly aren't a solution here either due to them being an extra expense that decidedly less affluent families often can't afford, and really only serve to reinforce a false equivalency between an adult work place and a children's school.

  27. A dress code doesn't make sense in schools because it can only be subjective. There's no right or wrong dress code, only one opinion against another. The solution is not to have dress codes, only guidelines with a few obvious rules like don't be literally half naked. That always works. Here in Hungary only a few schools have dress codes (and they're usually religious and go the full length to requiring a uniform) and how students dress is a non-issue.

  28. Never had dress codes when I was in school. Not even once did I see someone naked, in PJ's or other crazy apparel.

    Sure, write a few lines in the school code about students not being able to be naked or wearing offensive or discriminatory things on their clothes! Anything more than that is, however, completely unnecessary and not beneficial to students' daily life.

  29. In Greece (probably in almost all public schools) there is no dress code and, as many others in the comments have said, there is no problem. I assume that if someone ever dressed really inappropriately they would get punished (so there is, as is the case everywhere, an unspoken rule) but no such incident ever occurred.

  30. I have been in a school with strict uniform and another with a non strict dress code. I have noticed that we would waste so much time on topics such as if we have the right shade of blue for our pants, taking valuable time we could use for learning in school.

  31. We have to think about the "distraction" too, in my opinion. Some dresses expose too much skin that makes it harder to give your attention to class at all. No I'm not an oldhead, it is the nature of Humanbeings

  32. At our middle school, our dress codes were strict. Towards the end of 8th grade our administration started enforcing punishment that hadn’t happened at the beginning of the year with the same clothes. All the shorts girls were wearing where “too short” even though they seemed appropriate. Girls were not allowed to wear ripped jeans. I was never affect by the dress code, but this upset me because most of the girls getting dress coded were still wearing appropriate clothing. Also, no guys got dress coded over anything they were wearing. I read the actual dress code they gave us, and nothing implied that ripped jeans were against the dress code. At my high school, everybody can wear what ever they want and no one gets in trouble. People wear pajamas, crop shirts, shorts, and ripped jeans. Unless someone is being very distasteful or inappropriate, the administration does not care how we chose to present ourselves. It was an interesting change to move from one school in the district to another that enforced the dress code in drastically different ways.

  33. When I have previously been dresscoded, it has been because my shorts are too short. It's been hard to find shorts that are appropriate to my school' s dress code. When I find longer shorts, they are more expensive. I agree without the fact that clothing that displays hateful words should be banned, but I believe that showing a little more leg wouldn't hurt.

  34. Sniff.. I has to wear Navy blue, green, light blue, and white shirts and Navy blue and another colour I donut no… AND THERE ITCHY

  35. None of my schools had dress codes and I suppose that's because the faculties never saw anything objectionable in the styles. But styles are the problem: there probably would have been a lot of children from poor families who would've had a better school experience if all their peers had to wear what they wore. It's both a vicious irony and a sad commentary on the state of mind of a youth who can only express their individuality by keeping in style.

  36. The dress code should depend on the weather as well. I live in Minnesota and we should have more rules to cover up in the winter then say Florida.

  37. May I ask, how do the TINY runs in my jeans distract my classmates? Or how about the fact that I have my 1st AND 2nd second lobes pierced? How is that a problem! And yet, my bright blue hair is not distracting? LOGIC!

  38. I understand the school "preparing us for the future,but if you really look at it they are sexualizing middle schoolers bodies and that is very present in my school. If a girl is "thick" she will get dress coded for anything and if she has smaller boobs and a thinner body she can show anything she wants. And there are so many jobs that are arising today in which people work individually or at their homes, at the beach even. And if a certain student chooses to work in a office they will comply with that dress code, but if not they should be able To express themselves through their clothes. And putting obligations on students now that they will only use after college just makes them to want to rebel. I think there should be some rules but most of they don't offend or harm anyone so what is the problem. Clothes were created to keep us covered for decency and warmth but boys getting aroused over my shoulder is so stupid.

  39. What i think is that girls get strict dress codes because of boys actions. Why are girls being shamed for this? Why dont they teach the boys and not the girls? (not all of you boys out there)

  40. When I was between jobs last year, I volunteered 400 hours tutoring algebra (and other things) at a local "continuation" high school that was focused on students who were, in various ways, "failed" by regular schools. This meant small class sizes and lots of 1-on-1 attention.

    My first eye-opener was the wide variety of student (and staff) attire. When I attended high school in the early 1970's, we all mainly wore blue jeans and t-shirts, almost as if they were a uniform. The only "violations" were for rips/wear and "polarizing language or images". This was an era when we tried to get around the rules by combining things, such as a favorite T-shirt of mine that said: "Nuke the Bomb".

    My first impressions of these students was through the filter of "appropriateness", for which I soon found my own standards were very outdated. It was mainly overload, I suppose, as I didn't previously interact with many of high school age. We were from different sub-cultures, separated by more than just time.

    When I read the school's half-page dress code, it primarily listed minimum standards attire should meet, rather than being a list of banned items. I was surprised to see simple language discussing exposure of skin or things like nipples or crotch bulges (the only part even mentioning gender). The limitations on jewelry were equally simple, to not be harmful to one's self or others (the school nurse added that one, after seeing way too many body parts being damaged by hardware getting yanked out).

    Within weeks I began to see the student's language of style. Some wanted to be invisible (for various reasons, many positive), others wanted to stand out (to not be invisible), though most simply wanted to express or define themselves through their appearance. I soon found many efforts were experimental in nature, students trying things to see how they felt and how others perceived them, very much like trying to create a new "language" for one's self that your friends and peers would still understand.

    I remember when a "jock" I was tutoring once came in with his nails done (French nails). I really didn't know what his message was, nor did I really care since it clearly wasn't aimed at me. But I did care that he was expressing himself. When I positively commented about the change ("that's a great nail job"), he simultaneously blushed and grinned with pride. Then all his peers gathered round, thoroughly disrupting class, asking all the questions I was also curious about.

    There was also one woman student who always dressed in the most stylish yet formally sexy way possible, such as by wearing sheath dresses. It took me over a month to understand the path she was forging for herself, to "look good" with grace and style, without being tacky or clichéd or over-sexualized. She was gorgeous, and wanted to be seen embracing that while also being far more than "just" her physical attributes.

    Being an older male, I couldn't directly comment on her style, especially given how comments on appearance can correctly be taken as sexual harassment no matter their intent. So instead I tried the opposite, to comment only on her "casual" days. Her response was interesting: "You know you don't need to wear a button-up collar shirt every day, right?"

    I dug deep into my curated collection of tie-died T-shirts and wore one the next day. The student reactions were beyond awesome. I mentioned the student who encouraged me to try something different, and she had 15 minutes of mocking yet kind fame as a "style consultant". Great fun all around, and it brought me closer to the students. Or, more accurately, they moved closer to me.

    Dress codes are important, but only below the point where they would impact personal style. Set the minimum, and see what grows and flourishes above.

  41. Are you really asking KIDS about what they deem acceptable when it comes to dress codes? School is not the place for self expression. It has a very distinct purpose. Kids don’t like it? Too bad!

  42. Interesting piece and it's great to see the students doing research, but I honestly expected it to include some peer-reviewed research, too. And to present it in an accessible way for lay people. What does research say about the effects of dress codes on safety, academics, and equity (e.g., many schools implement dress codes to help reduce apparent differences in affluence).

  43. As a trans woman I have experienced a lot of hate for wearing short skirts at work, with me being pulled out of work quite often to get a talking to about how some customer thought my skirt was too short. They then measure the distance to knee, remind me of the rules, and send me on my way as my skirt isn't too short.

    This takes from 10-20 mins and happens every other week or so. No one seems to ever have issues with the other girls that wear short skirts nor do they complain about the half dozen other dress code violations going on elsewhere.

    So, I'm very much against dress codes because they are almost always discriminatory in their usage. No one is actually unable to shop at my store because my knees are showing. Just like in schools.

    However, if my experience at work is the norm then maybe wasting these kid's time taking them out of class to complain about dress code violations is preparing them for the real (stupid) world.

  44. The other day this boy was wearing a tank top and i was waiting for the teacher to tell him to get a jacket on or go home and change because thats what i was used to but he didnt get told anything about covering up, so i decided to wear a tank top the next day to just experiment my school dress code and i immedidently was told to get a jacket on or else leave the school to change like really… girls dont get the chance like boys do

  45. Headbands are banned at my school because it’s shows gang violence why don’t boys stop looking at women’s butts like because I Don’t think most boys will wear booty shorts like I want to express myself like omg look at my shoulders so distracting and it’s just plain out sexist and we aren’t showing off are body that’s how we just dress I rather be wearing want represents me and pleases myself I’m not trying to please anyone else do I don’t care what other ppl think like boys.

  46. First I was "wel, big data, let's see what this nerd is on about" but then I saw the tumbnails and the art style informed me big bullshit was coming and no big data.
    Seems I was right.

    Every school dress code is more restrictive to boys.

  47. we have to where shorts/shirts down to our finger tips and no spaghetti straps along with MANY more rules

  48. I have learned FAR more in any given semester of college than I learned in high school and I show up everyday in what makes me comfortable. I don't have to waste time worrying about what I am wearing and I can focus on what matters…learning. All of my classmates do the same and whether someone is wearing a cute crop top, sweats and a t-shirt, or a suit, we don't care. Oh and tattoos, piercings, big hair, bright colored hair, etc. is all there and guess what…we STILL LEARN. We recognize that everybody is different and can express themselves how they want to. If anything teaching high school students that everyone deserves respect no matter what they are wearing would be a good life lesson.

  49. Because I live in Sweden, we don’t have any dress codes we can we’re whatever we want and nobody is saying nothing😁😊

  50. Maybe the problem with school dress-codes is that their idealistic standards for what is and is not appropriate conflicts with what is portrayed as culturally acceptable in the media and elsewhere in the real world.
    It's unfortunate that dress codes tend to target articles of female fashion, but I think that that's due to the fact that as a culture female fashion tends to be more exposing and provocative. Schools are just one of the few places where we have rules that try to restrict that behavior.
    If we as a society and culture had better standards for what qualified as appropriate attire, this would be far less of a problem.

  51. my dress code is the worst
    i get dresscoded almost everyday for stupid shit like ripped jeans and when i raise my arms my shirt shows my stomach literally HOW IS THAT A DISTRACTION

  52. Ikr i almost got dressed coded bc my tang top wasnt 3 fingers length long yet it was an entire hand long!

  53. So heres the thing, I'm in fifth grade and am VERY developed already. And I wear crop tops. But there's this girl (She ma friend don't hate on her!) Who were very short shorts and nobody points anything put. But when I were a crop top that touches my pants when my hands are down and just basic jeans, everyone starts yelling "CENSORED" and like, I feel confident in jeans and crop tops, not in hoodies. And honey, I got boobies, okay? If I mean down, obviously you gonna see some cleavage ! And the fingertip rule, ahhhhh! I know if boys be looking at my butt that's my fault that their pervy, ya know? Oh, an I never knew that boys don't know that I have shoulders! We're not aloud to wear any tank too because it's inappropriate… And boys don't wear shirts to school and pull their pants down so everyone can see like half of their underwear, and does anybody say anything, no! My freaking English teacher says that she has to go shopping with me to make sure that I don't buy crop tops. I was dancing, moving my hands around and if anything hate are going to hurt me!

  54. I think a good dress code is that your shorts have to cover your butt and that you can show have of your bully and can be no strap shirts/tanktop/dresses. Because I learned us girls got a talk about covering up but the boys NEVER got talked to keep there hands to there selfs. Do you know that the number 1 asked question asked they people report rape is? What were you wearing? It shouldn't matter what you wore rape is rape no matter what you wear. In sted of teaching girls to cover up, we should teach boys to keep there hands to there self.

  55. i've got dresscoded only once, when there was a 'concert' and i was singing in the choir, and i was wearing a skirt (because we were told to) which was like two inches above my knees, and i was told to put jeans or something more covering under them

  56. When I was in high school I struggled because I couldn’t afford to wear what other people were wearing. I would have appreciated a dress code so I didn’t have to stress about what to wear at school.

  57. What my school says is a nOpE:
    No tank tops
    No inappropriate shirts/jeans
    Nothing that shows gang signs, bullying, inappropriate things, etc.
    Ripped jeans must be at your knee or lower (nothing at your thighs or above)
    Nothing show bra straps or undergarments
    No shorts that show you thighs or above
    Do not wear pajamas
    No crop tops
    Jewelry must be appropriate

    (That is all I remember)

  58. We had a long hot and annoying uniform that was strictly regulated on some people but others could walk around with bright green hair. (I got pulled up for a hair tie the “wrong shade of blue”

  59. Who else needs to wear a uniform?

    I can also get detention or expelled if I wear the wrong color lol

  60. Teacher when student gets bullied: I'll just erase that from my memory
    Teacher when jacket has hood: NANI?!

  61. The only reason that it’s distracting to your education because you CHOSE to wear that disgusting clothing that’s DESIGNED to make the girl a sex object

  62. I’m just now going to middle school, We have a new superintendent, he says that girls aren’t able to wear hoodies, jeans with holes in them, shorts that don’t go to our knees, no tank tops AT ALL, but we are able to wear leggings but the shirt has to cover our butt. But guess what, boys are only not able to wear hoodies 🙄, the middle schoolers were saying that if we are going to get dumb dress codes, we might as well get uniforms, I DONT WANT UNIFORMS! but the school is dumb and I will probably get dress coded everyday! YAY! r.i.p my creativity

  63. My new school has uniforms, but I got in trouble 2 times in my old school. Once because the teacher said that my jeans where "too tight" and another time when I fell down and a hole formed on my jeans. LIKE, I TRIPPED.

  64. Ok see I get a decent dress code but if they are supposed to be preparing us for the real world why. We are not goi g to be eskimos people.

  65. Yes, dress code protects people from being naked to school, but it's much stricter then it should be. Rather, it's highly sexist and biased. It should be more equal, and if we want to wear a crop top, or shorts, then we should. Besides, the school just use the guys as an excuse, barley anyone is distracted by a hold in someone's jeans. You gotta admit though, it definitely seems to distract the faculty.

  66. In my sisters high school there’s no dress code at all. There’s girls wearing booty shorts and crop tops everyday lmao

  67. In my opinion I think school dress code kinda sucks,for example it's gonna be a hot hell day tomorrow in school and you got P.E. Too hot that you need to wear shorts and tank tops {very common fashion for summer :> } then you just sweat in your hoodie because you ain't got any thin material clothing and your parents are busy. So you deal with it to not get into detention and to kinda cool your body to not stinky sweat. I mean like since when did school administrators see someone wearing anything inappropriate in their mind.sure they might be in their elder years but still what if they saw one of the students wearing something violated to the dress code

  68. I'm scared to wear shorts at my school cause it says that it has to reach the top of your knee. I have never seen a pair of shorts that went to the top of my knees that fit me because i have very long legs lol

  69. I love how the girl who agrees with the dress code is talking about the students dressing to casual, first of all look at what ur wearing gurl your wearing a baggy sweat shirt hypocrite.

  70. I don’t understand what is so distracting about shoulders like in our planners it says under “Dress Code:” it’s like “Do not expose shoulders” like what’s so distracting about shoulders? And it’s so stupid when you think about it like I understand that I can do some pretty weird things with my shoulder (I can pop it out of its socket) and I kinda feel like it’s kinda stupid to say to girls in my school (stupidity warning) you can’t cut your hair short or shave it off or dye it which is kinda stupid because there was this girl at school who had cancer 🙁 and you know with the medication, it makes your hair fall out so she wore a wig for a while but then she tripped in class and… you probably guessed it, the wig fell off and then the teacher walked in, he said “(insert girls name here) go to the office now please” and she didn’t come back until she got a surgery to get a hair implant and yea that’s real rude like really like why would you have a dress code against a life ending disease??? I’m pretty sure the girls parents sued the school and that’s when they let girls cut their hair short and another stupid one it that you can’t have double ear piercings which I had one and I had to get rid of it and that was really disappointing because it was out of my savings for $15 and I was like super pissed obviously I transferred schools (it was a private school where we had to wear these ridiculous uniforms)

  71. I am 28. I have a 6 year old daughter. I manage a restaurant.

    I hear the "manyworkforces have uniform requirements, so students can get prepared by having a dress code". The difference is that I am not legally compelled to have my current job, nor is any adult. Yes, some jobs have dress codes. Most do, in fact. But if we dont like our jobs dress code, we have the freedom to find a new job with a different dress code.

    However, if our kids are in public school and we (parents and kids together) disagree with the dresscode, our option is to conform, provide alternative schooling at our monetary expense, or lose our kids because we arent sending them to school.

    School isnt the real world. In the real world, bosses get hot too, and they dont freak out when its 100 degrees and somebody wears short shorts. If they do, employees have the option to quit without going to jail.

    Schools need to stop preparing for the real world of 30 years ago and start respecting students with the rights theyd have after they turned 18.

    The simple fact that students MUST attend on threat of financial or legal burden should mean that school policies are held to a higher standard than businesses.

  72. I looked at my school dress code this year. The rule this year is no tank tops. My question is how small thick does the strap have to be?

  73. Guy: wears a muscle shirt

    Principal: 👍🏻

    Girl: wears a completely appropriate tank top

    Principal: >:0

  74. A lot of things that schools say are a distraction is only bc teachers and staff waste their time to give it attention and disrupt students education when the students never even cared

  75. My thing why are grown ass adults looking at minors in a sexual way
    It’s creepy and weird
    If I was a parent I would beat the shit out of teacher or principal if you are perving on my kid

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