Hypocrisy of dress code

Rayana Camilo, Staff Writer

A woman in Tennessee spoke out against the dress code and new mask policy in August. “Since you made the mask policy optional, I intend to opt my daughter out of the dress code,” she said. This should go down in history. 

In the email she sent to the school board, she also mentioned how she believes the dress code is “misogynistic and detrimental to the self-esteem of young women.” This woman knows the extent to which female students are targeted when it comes to the dress code, and she will not stand for it. She uses the mask mandate as a weapon, and rightfully so.

Claiming that females must cover up their shoulders to conserve the focus of their male counterparts is ridiculous, especially given the dress code’s blatant severity.

Comparatively, mask mandates are flexible. Masks are taken off and tossed aside, even after the school board enacted mask wearing as a countywide rule. Masks are required at school for the sake of safety, but are not worn as often as they should be. It seems hypocritical to relax restrictions on a piece of cloth that saves lives while telling girls to change their shirts if their shoulders are exposed.

When students come to school without masks, even with the mask mandate still in place, they do not get reprimanded. If it is OK for students to not follow one form of dress code with masks, why is it so bad if they do not follow the dress code dealing with everyday attire?

With times changing, certain articles of clothing are becoming more acceptable. With this, the dress code should at least be updated. Some clothes are more appropriate now than they were decades ago. Now they are considered trendy and in-style, overtaking clothing stores. Schools need to grow and accept student self-expression through clothing, and that it’s not harmful to anyone. Teachers and administrators believe that certain articles of clothing are more inappropriate than the students think. Who gets to decide what is inappropriate and what is acceptable?

Administrators and teachers alike abide by the school district’s rules when handing out dress code violations. However, they should know exactly what the dress code states before taking advantage of this power. 

Earlier this year, a teacher mistakenly dress-coded a female student during class. This teacher did not know what the dress code policy was, and by mistakenly dress coding the student, they humiliated her. When she was sent to the office, the assistant principal, Catherine Halbuer, could not find anything wrong with her outfit. This is not OK. Girls should not be dress-coded if the dress-coder doesn’t even know how the policy works.

Because of the unrest with the dress code recently, students are starting to fight back. In October, dress code protests were advertised all over social media. Posts contained multiple students’ opinions on the dress codes, including how some view them as unfair and sexist.

A small protest took place at Melbourne, Eau Gallie and Satellite high schools, and at West Shore. Participants decided to wear tank tops to school. What’s wrong with tank tops? The straps were not one and a half inches wide as required in the dress code.

 The lackadaisical approach to enforcing mask mandates highlights flawed dress code regulation. Why do we continue to weigh the importance of wearing a mask over the comfort and style of wearing a tank top? 

Times are changing and schools need to change with them.