Students Voice Opinions on Updated Dress Code

At the start of the school year, the new RRISD dress code was sent out to students and parents through email. The dress code included key changes that placed additional stipulations on what students are allowed to wear to school.

Since the school year started, there has been a rapid increase in the number of people being disciplined for violating the dress code. But how do Westwood students feel about the new dress code? Over a span of two days, 377 students responded to the survey sent out by Westwood Student Press.

Although 58% of students said they haven’t been negatively affected, those affected responded with stories of their experiences with being dress coded.

“It makes me feel like a slut,” Spider Hoover ‘23 said. “It makes me angry. It makes me feel like [the staff] don’t value my education,[the staff] value men’s education over mine because I’ve never seen a man get dress coded.”

For some students, negative experiences with dress codes began before high school.

“In elementary and middle school I [was] constantly told to change out of my clothes,” Milena Jandreski ‘23 said. “I was 11 [to] 13, I didn’t know why I was being targeted for outfits that were by no means sexy or promiscuous.”

Some respondents said being dress-coded contributed to self-critical attitudes toward their body image, making them feel sexualized.

“I was wearing some ripped jeans and I was happy and confident with what I was wearing,” Maya Ayoubi ‘25 said. “But after getting sent to the office because [my jeans] ‘showed too much’ it made me feel uncomfortable and unreasonably sexualized [and] violated for the way I was treated, simply [for] expressing myself and being happy with what I was wearing.”

Numerous respondents said they were uncomfortable with staff dress coding students because they felt adults regulating students’ clothing is inappropriate behavior.

“It feels kind of dehumanizing when somebody tells you [that] because of how you look, you have [to be the one] to change, [instead of] the mindset of other people [changing],” Ariba Ahmed ‘24 said. “That was just super uncomfortable, especially being dress coded by a male teacher. What was said about my outfit [was] how it was overly sexualized and [looked] like lingerie. It just didn’t feel like any other person [who wasn’t a man] would have said that.”

While many students aren’t happy with the new dress code, some students agree with it and believe that the administration is justified in dress-coding students.

“In my personal opinion, I believe it is ok for an admin and a student to disagree on dress codes,” an anonymous respondent said. “[The school] even [has] opportunities for a student to vouch for their reason [for breaking dress code]. But for anyone out there who believes that schools should not have dress codes, consider that you are in a professional setting, [and] what you wear can affect others.”

Many respondents felt as though girls who are more developed were being targeted by staff dress codes.

“I, as a young Black woman, get dress coded a lot because my body is much more developed [than] others,” an anonymous respondent said.

Overall, the majority of respondents felt that self-expression should not always be dictated by the opinions of school staff and dress codes, with 70% of students responding that school dress codes are only needed in some situations.

“These students, these minors, are dressing for themselves,” an anonymous respondent said. “Not for the staff. The staff needs to keep their hands, words, and their eyes to themselves. Just because you might think a piece of clothing is ‘too small’ or ‘showing too much’, does not mean that’s what the students intended for it to come off as.”

While opinions varied, a majority of student respondents disapproved of the new dress code, with 72% percent of students rating the dress code three or less on a scale of five. As rules and restrictions continue to evolve, how students’ opinions of dress codes will change remains to be seen.