Dress Coding: Distraction or Discrimination?

School Dress Code Raises Concern of Sexism, District Changes Policy.

Owen Baxter, Writer

Dress codes in school almost always come with controversy. Often, they raise the question of what constitutes as “revealing” or “profane.” So, what does the dress code look like at Northtown?
“We go off of our district policy […] which is the same for all four high schools.” Drew White, Northtown’s principal, said.
In this policy, it is stated that “Any apparel that is offensive to or distracts from a student’s performance or the performance of any other student in the classroom must be replaced with appropriate clothing. This includes apparel with obscenities, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, profanity, sexual content, or double meaning.”
Examples of inappropriate clothing provided by the district are, but not limited to, halter tops, crop tops, short skirts, or clothing with bare backs. Students who “fail to comply” may face disciplinary action.
“It really depends,” Hawar Khalandi, a member of the Northtown admin team, said, “If I see a kid that’s not dressed appropriately for a learning environment, I’ll pull them aside and we’ll have a conversation.”
But the dress code doesn’t work so well, some say.
“It all goes back to the shoulder thing. […] I was wearing a full-length shirt, but it was just the fact that my shoulders were out,” Brooklynn Crawl (10) said, “And I also had on some shorts that were maybe, like, a little above my knee.”
Crawl was required to have a conversation with a member of the admin about inappropriate clothing.
“I didn’t really understand it. It was summer. And it was hot. I was told that my shirt was too ‘revealing.’” She said.
Crawl isn’t the only person confused by the dress code.
“I was wearing a long sleeve, black crop top, but it didn’t, like, it wasn’t really that short,” Alyssa Jones (12) said, “I had to put on a jacket, which I had, but they said they’d provide one or someone could bring it to me.”
To Crawl, the dress code isn’t just confusing. It’s directed.
“There can be dudes walking around with their pants to their ankles if they wanted to, like nothing will be said to them,” Crawl said, “But literally last year when we had the 90s day [for spirit week] We dressed like the boys and had their pants hanging down like the dudes did, but we got dress coded for it.”
However, the school claims they have made changes to the dress code to narrow this gap.
“Previously, before the 2021-2022 school year, we were actually going through and doing revisions to our student handbook,” White said, “And I think when we read the dress code policy, it probably was slanted more towards females, so we wanted to get back together and make sure that bias wasn’t in our policy.”
Crawl views this issue as simpler than that, though.
“If it doesn’t concern you, mind your business.” She said.