Dress codes hinder development and maturation


Julia Satterthwaite

By Bailey Boerhman

Over 54 percent of public schools are required to follow a strict dress code. A strict dress code should not be enforced for several reasons. Students should be allowed to express themselves through clothing, dress codes tend to promote an unfair double-standard and students should learn to be around those who are different to gain exposure to the diverse world that awaits after high school. High school is a critical time when teens are finding themselves and maturing, and should be allowed to wear whatever they want.

Teenagers express their thoughts, morals and ideas through their clothing. In reality, articles of clothing that portray something inappropriate is not going to convince another individual to do it. For example, if one is wearing a shirt promoting a major beer company, his or her pupils will not be persuaded to start drinking. Some concert t-shirts may be deemed “inappropriate,” but they provide an outlet for music-lovers to display their individuality. Finding one’s self is an important developmental process and high schoolers should be allowed to display this evolution at school.

Furthermore, dress codes often promote unfair rules that target what girls wear and don’t say much about guys. Leggings and yoga pants should not be banned. This ban is becoming a popular one across the United States; however, it is creating an unequal double standard. It shames women into thinking they should dress more conservatively so the guys can control themselves. It would be better to address the guys who are having impure thoughts, instead of accepting the “boys will be boys” mantra. Dress codes often target girls and this sets an unfair standard and should be revoked.

An important part of high school is learning to be around different types of people, and this could be better served through a loose dress code. If students could wear what they wanted, the differences among each other could encourage challenge and growth. There will be people who wear shocking outfits in college, so it’s better for students to gain the exposure and learn how to have mature reactions in the high school setting.

Other people might argue that dress codes keep students safe and focused. However, these limits on student expression continue to foster a sheltered atmosphere and make girls feel as if it’s their fault that guys can’t control their thoughts. The purpose of school is to learn how to be a productive, contributing member of society, and dress codes hinder the natural developmental process that students need to navigate and learn from.

To conclude, a strict dress code should not be enforced in schools because self- expression and self-control are factors in growing up that students need to experience. The next steps would be to remove all harsh bans of girl’s clothing decisions such as leggings, length of shorts/ skirts, and amount of shoulder shown.