Students and Teachers Question LHS Dress Code

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The LHS dress code has rules that have been controversial for a while now. From bra straps to violent graphics, we (students) have all had to follow a dress code at some point in our life. There is no doubt that many have questioned if these restrictions are ethically and morally right. So what is the motivation behind the dress code? The more impractical and broad the rules are, the harder it gets to discern the main goal of the dress code in the first place.

“Final determination of what constitutes appropriate dress shall be made by the school administration” (Livermore High School Handbook 2021). When being punished the reasons for a punishment can often be undescriptive and more based on the personal opinion of an admin or teacher, rather than it being based on the actual written rule. 

Another problem that arises due to the fact of the schoolś dress code being vague and not clearly described, is making it difficult for a student to get dressed in the morning. For example, “sexually suggestive” and “promotes sex” are both used in the student handbook to describe what type of writing, pictures, and/or symbols are prohibited on clothing. This could be considered a broad rule, by some, since it doesn’t go into detail about what it actually means or is referring to. Pictures or graphics of nudity is not a written violation in the student handbook but it is something you could get dress cut for; meaning it would fall under the category of “sexually suggestive” or “promoting sex”.

Some students and teachers don’t support the dress code and want to make changes to it. We interviewed Mr. Lowry, who was asked his thoughts about the dress code “There are some things we need to address in a certain way since they don’t follow common sense. I don’t know what they were thinking when they wrote some of these things.” When asked if he believes there is gender bias, he said, “I don’t believe the people who wrote it meant it to be gender bias but yes I think it is gender bias.” It has become prevalent that a lot of the concerns surrounding the dress code has to do with gender bias.

Next to be interviewed was a male student who wore a crop top to school as a part of a bet with his friend. He explains, “she (his friend) offered to pay me because she thought it would be funny, I was making it [the crop top] for my halloween costume, so I decided to wear it to school the next day (a crop top that went above his belly button),” explained Matthew Yendrey (11). 

¨Going to school was fun because I could feel how different I look and then everyone was staring, it was kind of funny. My teachers looked sort of surprised but when I explained it to them, they started laughing about it with me,¨ says Matthew Yendrey (11). Matthew never got a dress cut that day. He then proceeds to explain an example of gender bias concerning the dress code:“In Sarrailles class I was talking with another student and she was explaining  that she got a dress cut. Which I found odd because I was wearing a shorter crop top than she was. However, she got a dress cut and I did not.¨ This raises the question: why is it that he did not receive a dress cut that day but the female student did, while wearing a less revealing shirt? We then asked him if he thinks there is a gender bias for the dress code, “Yes, when it existed I don’t know if it exists anymore ” said Yendrey (11).

There have been rumors surfacing that we were not aware of before these interviews were held. These rumors are about the dress code supposedly no longer existing. A teacher we interviewed but refused to be quoted, thought that the dress code no longer existed. They told us that it had been taken down because it was ruled as sexist. But this is not the case since the dress code is still written in the 2021 student handbook. 

In the student handbook it states, “Students shall dress appropriately for educational activities in which they will participate so as not to endanger their health, safety, or welfare, or that of others, or cause a disruption to the educational process.” If the clothing or accessory that the student is wearing does not impact their health or safety, then that shouldn’t be a cause for concern. How are crop tops or bra straps affecting one’s safety? When a girl wears a shorter crop top then her male peer but he doesn’t get a dress cut, it becomes apparent that the dress code has an underlying gender bias. If the dress code was created to keep students safe, focused and not disrupt the “educational process” in school, then sending someone home for showing their midriff completely goes against that.