OPINION: School Dress Codes Discriminate Against Girls

Brooke Weatherbie, Reporter

Students have followed dress codes since kindergarten. In fact, many have forgotten how restrictive the code is because it has always been around. But due to the obvious negative attention to females due to dress codes, I have not forgotten about these unjust regulations.

Administrators claim they are “building respectable young women” by instilling dress codes in schools. But when female students are being forced out of class to change their “revealing” top, I have to point out that the width of one’s shirt strap does not determine if a girl should actively participate in class.

Girls in schools across the nation are constantly being reminded to “cover your shoulders” and “watch your hemline.” But these should not be a factor in schools – girls come to school to get an education, not to be pulled out of class to change. According to Daily Mail, approximately 50 girls from a high school in southern California had to miss their final exams because they were sent home due to a dress code violation. While these intelligent young women could have taken their finals, they had to change their clothes. Their clothes. You do not need certain types of clothes to take a test. Clothes deemed “inappropriate” should not stop a student from getting their rightful education.

While many schools claim “revealing” clothing worn by female students can often distract others, the student who dressed “inappropriately” is not at fault. The Atlantic points out that the students distracted by revealing dress should be disciplined. But it is the distracted student’s fault that they are choosing to focus on another student instead of focusing in class. A girl should not be blamed for being harassed based on the clothing she chooses to wear. Even if dress code was lifted, students wouldn’t start wearing ridiculous clothes to school. Many students are young adults and understand how to act professionally in a school environment.

Dress codes are targeting girls across the nation. Schools should recognize that their often over-restrictive codes are outdated in an ever-changing society. And for administrators in support of a strong dress code: want to build respectable young women? Keep your students in class and teach them that the clothes they wear will not stop them from getting an education.