Though the weather is getting colder, it has not been cold enough for some students to cover up. Whether they are showing a lot of skin or wearing vulgar images or words, it is pretty easy to notice that CHS students are not complying with dress code—and even easier to notice that only some are stopped.
Perhaps the dress code issue for students may be one of ignorance, not defiance, since the elusive code can only be found on online, if they are looking for it, or in the time trackers the school stopped supplying to students this year.
However, the problem is not the existence of the dress code, but rather how it is enforced, specifically because its enforcement is sporadic and, typically, stops a disproportionate amount of girls to boys.
The argument for more girls being stopped is that they are more prone to break dress code, which is absolutely true because there are more rules for them to break.
The CHS Code of Conduct includes five bullet points on the expected dress code, and only two are targeted towards males. Additionally, the second bullet point geared towards males simply states, “Hats or headwear inside any school building must be removed at the request of a staff member,” which is not really a rule on what not to wear, but more of a behavioral suggestion. Still, the school does not use gender-specific language in its wording, but it is pretty easy to determine which bullet points refers to which sex.
The truth of the matter is that the point of a dress code is so some students do not get distracted during class, and since most of the rules are restricting girls’ dress, it is reasonable to conclude the purpose of the code is for boys, not for girls.
Is it fair to punish one sex for the faults of another?
Girls are more easily called out for their appearances than boys, but males are also capable of breaking the dress code by “displaying profanity, obscenities, sexually suggestive words, pictures, or advertising drugs, alcohol and tobacco.”
In fact, when a male student is stopped for a dress code violation, most students tend to notice, and yet I can count on one hand the number of times I have witnessed a boy being asked to change, turn his shirt inside out or cover up a word or phrase over my past three and a half years at CHS. However, a half-naked woman on a boy’s t-shirt should be considered “sexually suggestive,” yet I have seen numerous instances of that image alone around campus. I do not recall many of those boys being stopped by administrators, teachers or campus supervisors.
Notably, during Halloween there were ample amounts of skin shown from both genders, and since the Code of Conduct does not use gender-binding language, each clause should apply to both genders, yet this was not the case. One male student went shirtless all day and was not stopped, but a girl who showed her midriff was stopped before second period. Seems fair.
There are definitely advantages to a dress code, but when it is enforced unequally, that presents a problem. Either have a dress code and allow it to apply to everyone, or do not have one and allow high school students to make their own decisions.