Lakes Dress Code


Ava Bedker, Reporter

After interviewing a few students and a respected teacher on the dress code I believe that many people have similar but different views and opinions on the dress code. I asked the same 4 open ended questions to 3 different people, and the results show that while some students think one way many think another.  

The first question I asked was, “Do you believe the dress code is productive?” They all answered no but for different reasons; One student said that it was not productive because the students do not comply, and the teachers do not enforce it. The other students said they believed that it was unproductive because it discourages the students from wearing clothes that express who they are. “…It makes students feel like they don’t have a say, making them feel unvalued.” The teacher, who shall remain unnamed, answered in agreement with both the students. They said that unless it is enforced due to a safety issue (like toe-closed shoes in a science lab) it is counterproductive to the learning environment. They went on to explain that our time and energy as a class should not be wasted on something that can jeopardize the emotional safety of the students.  

The second question asked was “Do you think the dress code should be more or less lenient?” To this the students replied differently; One replied with “The dress code is fine the way it is.”, while the other said that it should be more lenient in certain areas. She went on to explain that the requirements around ripped pants are senseless, having a lenient dress code encourages creativity when it comes to style. The teacher simply said “Ideally the dress code would not exist.”  

The third question was, “Do you believe that the dress code is directed towards a certain gender?”. The first student stated that men have more room to explore what they wear, because the dress code was not aimed at them. While the other student agreed that it was aimed at women, they said it was done in a positive way. She went on to elaborate that women are often encouraged to wear more revealing clothes by the media and the trends. So, to stop the wearing of immodest clothing the dress code is stricter on women. (i.e., “If you wouldn’t wear it to an interview, don’t wear it to school”) As for the professor, they pointed out the fact that the dress code is not only sexist, but also racist, classist, and inequitable.  It discriminates against the majority of the minority and is rife with double standards. The biggest issue being head coverings, for a long time durags and hoods were not allowed. This prosecuted against our black students, it also posed an issue for our students with autism who need to limit sensory input and find comfort in wearing hoods. They also went on to explain the struggles many people go through due to the fatphobia that is underlined in our dress code.  “We should not instill fear and shame in the human body when teenagers already experience a lot of shame as they come into their own and develop their physical identities.” 

The last question I asked was, “Who do you think should determine the dress code?” The first student said that young, trendy teachers should be determining the dress code for the year. The second student said that it would be most productive to have a board with a few students and a few teachers who come up with the dress code. This would allow for the student’s voices to be heard but also makes sure that the teacher can regulate the “last say”. The teacher that was interviewed stated that students should have the upper hand when it comes to determining the dress code. “I believe student voice is the most important factor in all domains of education.” She went on to explain that for the most part students know how to present themselves in a way that is appropriate for school. “As long as you’re not naked or dressed like Lady Gaga at the MTV Music Awards, I don’t see an issue.” As long as students come to school clothed, that is all that should matter. 

After the three interviews I conducted, I was really surprised to see how much we agreed. I really appreciated how progressive the teachers’ view was, it opened my eye on how the students should and somewhat are the face of this school. As far as my own opinion, I believe that students in high school are in a very sensitive time when it comes to our personal image and how we present ourselves, so I think that it is important not to prohibit the creativity that comes along with picking out an outfit. I want to take a chance to thank my interviewers. Y’all are the best.