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School Dress Codes

By , Nyack, NY

Many schools have dress codes or have uniforms, but that limits the students self-expression. Students should not be tied down by a dress code in school because dress codes don’t allow the students to express them self. Not only do dress codes limit students self-expression, they also are very sexist and not equal to both genders. Even In the book Anthem, by Ayn Rand the citizens of the dystopia were restricted to wear certain clothes. Though many people think dress codes shouldn’t be used in schools, others think that dress codes should be mandated in schools.

Students should not have to restrict their self expression in school due to dress codes. “... the assistant principal… ordered him to take off the shirt because it violated the dress code policy against sexual innuendo…” (Anneberg). A student tried to express themself with their clothing, but the assistant principal did not approve of the shirt and thought that it disrupted the dress code policy and made him change his shirt. “He told me during lunch that ‘We’re not doing this right now, you have to change your shirt,’ because of my sexual innuendo… ‘Later he told my mother that it was done for my safety’”(Anneberg). Not only did the assistant principal make the student change his shirt, but also lied to his mother and said it was about his safety and not his sexual innuendo. “...he simply wants to pick his own clothes. Or as he put it to a Bayonne newspaper last week: ‘I'm opposed to somebody telling me what to wear and forcing me to wear an emblem against my will’...” (Kelly). Students have been forced not to wear things that express who they are as an individual. Dress codes can limit students ability to express them self artistically causing them to hold back on strong feelings they should be able to express.

Schools should not have dress codes because they are not equal to both genders. “...middle schoolers in Evanston, Illinois, protested a ban on leggings and yoga pants… ‘too distracting’ to boys…” (Menza). In middle school clothing for females is getting banned from the school because of the immaturity of some boys. “...a visible bra strap or a pair of leggings will prevent a boy from learning...a girl might want to wear leggings to be comfortable in class” (Menza). Girls do not intend to distract the boys from learning with what they are wearing, they would rather be comfortable in class so they, as an individual, can concentrate, rather than wearing uncomfortable clothing distracting them self in class. Dress codes are more dominated on girls and have more leeway on boys. Dress codes are not equal to both genders and cause children to grow up with sexist views.

Anthem, by Ayn Rand shows the how the citizens in the dystopia were not able to express them self due to a strong dress code. “We found garments and the golden one gasped at the sight of them. For they were not white tunics nor white togas; they were of all colors, no two of them alike…” (Rand 91). When Equality and Liberty found the clothing in the house in the forbidden forest, they were in awe because of all the colors that they saw. They were not used to all of the colors because they when they grew up they wore white tunics or togas so that everyone was the same. Everyone in the dystopia had a limited freedom of expression because of the white tunics or togas they had to wear. “...They find it upon scraps of old manuscripts or cut into fragments of ancient stones. But when they speak it they are put to death. There is no crime punished by death in this world, save this one crime of speaking the Unspeakable Word.”(Rand 49). The dystopia that Equality and Liberty lived in had such a strict dress code that if someone did not abide by the rules they would be beaten until they confessed their sins.

Many people believe that dress codes should be mandatory in schools, some people also believe in uniforms as well. “...principles of school that have uniform policies in place believe that students stay more disciplined and focused in their studies and less peer pressure” (Daniels). According to Daniels studies, when uniforms are put in place in schools, the students are expected to focus on their studies better and have less peer pressure from other students. “...fewer disruptions because if teasing, or students being uncomfortable because of the apparel that others are wearing...” (Daniels). In schools with uniforms, there is a large decrease in bullying over clothes because all students have the same clothes to wear. This does not persuade me to change my claim because students still get bullied at private schools, but it is for different reasons like the shoes a student is wearing. Also, schools without uniforms are more likely to have students who learn from their mistakes in schools about what they wore to school.

Schools limit students self-expression by enforcing a strict sexist dress code or making students wear mandatory uniforms. Students should be able to wear what they want to school because they will learn what not to wear on their own and be able to express them self however they want. However, uniforms and dress codes limit the amount of bullying and peer pressure in schools. Students in schools with uniforms still get bullied, but it is not only for how they dress, it could be for how they act or something different about a specific student.




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