By Jordan Beeks
This editorial was written in April of 2016 for the May publication of the Cardinal Connection. The copies did not arrive until after school had ended and this was never released to the school, until now.
In recent years, school dress code policies have become the spotlight of controversial debates and social media.
Like a lot of people, I do not agree with Collinsville Public School’s policy on our dress code.
The board of education’s approved 2015-2016 student handbook states: “Any form of dress or hairstyle that is contrary to good hygiene or which is distractive or disruptive and detrimental to the purpose or conduct of the school will not be permitted.”
After reading that statement, you may
think that it sounds perfectly logical; and it does. The specific rules, however, do not coincide. For instance, one clothing article not allowed is any top that exposes the shoulder, back, or midriff. (“Clothing articles NOT allowed”- Article 2-”Any article of clothing that exposes the shoulder, back, or midriff may not be worn. Tops must be at least 4 inches at the shoulder; cut-off sleeveless shirts, muscle shirts, spaghetti strap, halter, and midriff tops are not permitted.) How logical is it that a student’s shoulders would be a distraction so profound that it would inhibit someone else’s ability to learn.
When asked to explain this specific rule, Principal Coleman said,”Let’s start with the fact that modesty is a virtue…. [Modesty] says, I am here to get myself ready for my future by making myself stronger and smarter. It says, there’s a lot more on my mind than trying to attract the opposite sex… It says, I am special and I don’t have to try to get attention by wearing a shirt that basically says I’m trying to get everybody’s attention.”
There are parts to this policy that make sense. If a student is not in good hygiene, it could endanger the health of others around them and become a distraction.
There are many students opposed to these rules. Freshman Kathryn Lyman said, “I’m all for being modest but showing your shoulders isn’t a big deal.”
There are many other rules in the student handbook that don’t make much sense or don’t seem fair. An example would be the infamous “two-hands test.” The length test for shorts, skirts, and dresses says, “This is a gauge whereby the student stands tall and puts his/her arms straight down to their side and opens their hands with their fingers pointing towards the ground. The shorts or skirt must touch the bottom of their fingers or be longer. “
This rule cannot necessarily apply to everyone in a fair manner. Everyone has arms and legs that are different sizes and lengths. It’s almost impossible to establish one rule for every person when everyone is shaped differently.
85% of the 90 other students polled said that they do not agree with our school’s dress code policy, leaving only 12 people that do.
The point is, a student should be able to feel comfortable in whatever they are wearing and whatever is going to make their learning environment best suited to them.
People around the country; students, their parents, and faculty alike have been fighting for their children’s rights to their own bodies. Even here in Collinsville there are people taking a stand. Just a few months ago a student (who shall remain anonymous) printed out posters on the subject and hung them around the school.
I hope this article inspires you to stand up for your right to bare your arms!