Students, Staff Debate Dress Code Policy

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Students, Staff Debate Dress Code Policy

The school's dress code policy is enforced to promote a healthy and professional learning environment. But is it fair?

The school's dress code policy is enforced to promote a healthy and professional learning environment. But is it fair?

Sample Student

The school's dress code policy is enforced to promote a healthy and professional learning environment. But is it fair?

Sample Student

Sample Student

The school's dress code policy is enforced to promote a healthy and professional learning environment. But is it fair?

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In many public high schools in the state of Arkansas, students have to follow a dress code policy, which provides guidelines for acceptable school attire. To some, dress code encourages a school environment that promotes strong academics and good behavior.  Others believe that the dress code is unfair and limits one’s sense of expression. 

In North Little Rock High School, some students argue that the dress code is biased against the female gender. 

Senior Khanysha Thompson says, “Instead of shaming girls for their bodies, teach boys to stop looking at girls as sexual objects.” 

Sophomore Josh Evans agrees, “For the girls it’s unfair. But for the boys, they don’t care.”

In the hallways of NLRHS, a dress code slideshow is displayed on monitors and is presented during Flex Block. Many students feel that the presentation focuses more on the female students rather than the males. “I was out of dress code one day. I wore pajamas to school. No one said anything to me.” says Evans. 

Senior Will Spigner does not see an issue with our dress code. “I’m a guy and we don’t really have anything that goes against it, but a lot of girls might feel differently.”

Senior Timmara Armstead claims, “The dress code is very sexist.”

However, Assistant Principal Sylvia Grady disagrees. Zip ties are given to male students to hold up and tighten the pants of those who violate the school’s policy on sagging.

 “I do know I have stopped boys before. I have had boys…pull up their pants and if they still sag, they get a zip tie.”

Angela Kindrex, another assistant principal continues, “There are more things girls can violate than males. Skirts too short, leggings too tight. It’s just less clothes for males.”  

According to mobile.edweek.org, African-Americans, especially African-American girls, are five times more likely to serve a punishment for a dress code violation. Senior Morgan- Couch believes this claim is true for NLRHS.

“They’re quicker to stop a black girl than a white girl with athletic shorts,” says Morgan – Crouch.

Assistant Principal Grady assures that the dress code policy was created earlier this year in May by a committee comprised of students and staff members of all ethnicities, in order to eliminate bias. “If [students] believe something is biased against a certain ethnicity, provide the evidence,” she says. “When you provide the evidence, that’s when we can sit down and have a discussion.”

Students also express that they feel targeted because of  body shape. “It’s unfair that when thick girls wear leggings it’s a big issue, but slimmer girls it’s not,” says senior D’shaunti Spearman.

However, Assistant Principal Kindrex says, “I don’t feel that anyone’s body type is being picked on. Two people can wear the same thing, but it’s not going to fit the other person the same.”

 Students have also shown concern about faculty looking at their bodies to make sure they are in dress code.

“I’m not comfortable with adults or anyone looking at me up and down,” says Morgan-Couch. 

Some faculty members agree that improvements can be made to dress code policy enforcement. 

Kindrex says, “I feel we need to be more consistent.” 

Schools enforce dress codes to prevent class distractions, illicit activity, bullying, and to promote a workplace environment. “I think dress code is a good thing. When you think about it, it’s like a business.” Grady says. “I can’t come in here Monday and wear jeans and a T-shirt.”

On the other hand, students believe staff and students should be more concerned with teaching academics and life skills.

“We  should focus on why we don’t have classes that prepare us for real life,” says senior Broocklin Dobbins. “Focus on teaching, focus on bettering the schools, focus on helping us. Why don’t we have a class that teaches us how to pay bills, manage & budget?”  

According to the North Little School District’s handbook, policy states, “If in the judgment of the administration, a student’s attire is a health hazard or a distraction to the educational atmosphere of the school, the student may be sent home to make proper adjustments before returning to school. Disciplinary action, unexcused, or unexcused tardy may occur when in violation of the established dress code.” 

Grady says, “If individuals come in with the appropriate dress, then they get to go to the classroom, and they get to be the person their parents want them to be.”

All in all, NLRHS administrators express that they are open to feedback from students concerning the dress code policy. 

“It’s up for discussion and compromise,” says Kindrex. 

  

*The views in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Blue and Gold Gazette staff.