School Dress Code: Helpful or Harmful?

Quinn Collins, Writer

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School dress code has been a big discussion over the years at Pope John Paul II High School, and it is still constantly being modified to this day. This year, the school has gotten rid of things that we were allowed to wear in the past years. In this article, we are here to talk to you about the advantages and disadvantages of having a school dress code at your very own school. This topic is going to be addressed to all teachers involved at Pope John Paul II High School and also to the school board to allow more leniency with what we are allowed to wear at school.

The things that we are going to be addressing are the things that we are and are not allowed to wear. A problem with this policy is that some teachers do not really care what outerwear you have on, but other teachers are very strict. If a particular item of clothing is allowed by one teacher but outlawed by another, students can easily get confused. We believe that all teachers need to have the same policy on things students are allowed and not allowed to wear.

Throughout the entire school year, there are various outerwear guidelines that you have to follow if you do not want to get a violation or even a detention. The fall, winter, and spring trimesters each have different dress codes that vary in multiple ways.

These dress codes are implemented in schools all around the world,  mostly notably in Catholic schools and certain universities. There have been certain instances of teachers being suspended due to the fact that they are rebelling towards the dress code at their respective school. One example of this is a school administrator close to Middle Tennessee wearing athletic shorts and arguing against the school’s prohibition of them. In the end, he got suspended for arguing and breaking dress code.

The reason we are making this argument is because people are getting tired of getting in trouble for wearing an article of clothing that was allowed in their previous class but not allowed in their next class. We  want our audience to participate in the movement to make teachers enforce a uniform policy that agrees across the school. We would like this policy to be more lenient than the policy that stricter teachers enforce. This topic is important to us because we have to wear the uniforms daily. Schools and businesses across the world would benefit from a uniform policy or dress code that agrees across all teachers and supervisors. Another example from Pope John Paul II High School is the problem with wearing sweatshirts. The handbook says, “JPII sweatshirts may only be worn on Spirit Dress days, and hoods may not be worn in the building” (JPII Handbook 38). This is a problem because that statement is actually not true at all. The rule is that we are allowed to wear certain sweatshirts, but not others unless it is Spirit Dress day. The criteria for what sweatshirts are acceptable on normal uniform days is quite confusing. If your hoodie does not have a hood and does have a quarter zip, it is acceptable. However, there are some teachers who allow sweatshirts with hoods or sweatshirts that do not have a quarter zip as long as they have a JPII logo on them.

Another example of a bad school dress code policy is the requirement for what shoes we have to wear, which are almost impossible to find. In the Pope John Paul II High School Handbook, it says, “Shoes for freshmen and new students shall be Sperry Authentic Original Boat Shoe in Sahara or Sperry Bluefish Boat Shoe in two-toned tan…These shoes include only Classic Saddle Shoe in Black and White, Buck Oxford in Taupe, Clark Wallabee in Sand Suede… and Bass Loafer in Cordovan” (JPII Handbook 37). This is a big deal for students because it is almost impossible to find those specific shoes in those specific colors. Also, they break very easily, and they are very expensive to replace. Parents do not want to buy another pair that will just break again. Teachers present the same problem with shoes that they do with sweatshirts. If a certain teacher sees you wearing the wrong shoe, then you get a violation, but some teachers do not care what shoe you wear as long as it is not a tennis shoe. In the end, all we want is for our audience to participate in getting the teachers to agree on the same dress code and not be as strict with the guidelines. 

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