Dress Code Discrimination Drama

Some students at Gresham High School believe they are being treated unfairly with the dress code.         

 “I think it is very unfair because it is so unclear from teachers telling us different expectations about the dress code,” sophomore Alex Roy said.

 The official dress code on the GHS website states, “when dress and grooming disrupts or directly interferes with the learning process for the individual student and/or other students, or endangers the health or safety of members of the school community [it is a violation].”  According to the dress code online, it’s really up to the administration to decide if the student’s attire is appropriate or not. This then leaves it to the students to decide what they think will not violate the dress code.

 However, this version of the dress code is inaccurate as the newest version is in the planner. The most current version states that the students must not wear “clothing that disrupts or directly interferes with the education process by distracting students or staff from constructive classroom activities”.

Tyler Hockert
Dress code violators.

The newest version includes a list of topics or specific clothing that can’t be worn. For example, pajamas aren’t allowed and it’s more straightforward.

 It seems the dress code takes on various forms throughout the seasons but there are not any changes in the dress code officially. For example, the administration is more lenient because of the cold weather and understands that people want to wear beanies even though that’s against the code. Any student with a hat or hood on could potentially get dress coded.

 “ I would say we catch boys more, especially with the hat and or hood piece,” security officer Gabe Shields said.

  Currently, the hat and hood rule is how most students violate the dress code policy. They are simply told to take off their hat or hood.  

     “I just walked into band with my hood on then, Mr. Budge told me to take it off. When the period finished I just put it back on. I always get warnings, but nothing ever happens,” Roy said.

  This could have happened to either a girl or a boy, but girls have more to worry about because they have clothing that can be considered “distracting”. Girls are expected to be “covered up”.

 Last year senior Amellia Wells was dress coded by school counselor Laura Blaser. Wells was wearing an off the shoulder top and was told to cover up. She didn’t do it right away, but when she went to her next period in the library, Wells was then told if she didn’t cover up the staff in the library would call security on her.

 She believed that she was treated unfairly. “…I don’t mind if they said to everyone that they should cover up, like if every girl [who] wore a halter top [was dress coded]. But I found it unfair because maybe like five minutes before I went into the counselor’s office, there was a girl that was wearing the same style of shirt and she didn’t get dressed coded at all,” Wells said.

Wells doesn’t know why she was the only one dress coded, but she thinks it maybe had to do with her weight.

  “…I’m not saying that they treat overweight people unfairly I’m just saying maybe it was because she was skinnier than I was,” said Wells.

 The dress code will not be 100% perfect for both students and staff, but that’s why staff and students need to compromise and be understanding. One of the problems with the current dress code is that some teachers enforce it, and others don’t.  It seems that for a dress code to work, either everyone,students and teachers, agree to the rules and all teachers enforce it.

 “[The current dress code] is like losing a battle, [one] person will say take your hat off, then they’re putting it back on and then others don’t say take the hat off,” Danna Nelson, business and marketing teacher said.

As the school changes, perhaps the dress code should also be changed to involve student and staff input to allow for students to express themselves through their dress and teachers to educate without disruption.

  “300 or 400 [get dress coded] per semester,”Shields said.

  When that large of a number is dress coded, it seems like there might be a problem.  Compromising will hopefully reduce conflicts between the school and students while allowing fashion to thrive.