By: Haley Eckman
Right now, in Warren County School District there is controversy regarding the appropriateness of the current dress code. Some students are arguing that the dress code is too strict and does not reflect on today’s current trends and styles, while administration at the district’s Central Office feels the dress code is necessary and requests strict following of their clothing standards. Students are asking for the dress code to be altered in order to make it more up to date. The Squire anonymously interviewed two students who are against the dress code to hear what they have to say.
The current dress code prohibits, “Halter tops or similarly styled tops exposing a bare midriff, shorts, skirts, or skorts above mid-thigh, bare feet, hats, slippers and/or pajamas, chains and bandannas, or capes,” according to the Student Handbook posted on wcsdpa.org. The written policy also mentions accessories that are inappropriate, or gang related. While this dress code is strict, students need to keep in mind that it is in place based on what the school district feels is best for students. Those who enforce and created the dress code are likely doing so in the hopes that the dress code keeps our students looking appropriate and schools well-presented. It also teaches students what they should or shouldn’t be wearing in public places. While current administration was consulted for this article, Mrs. Holeva could not comment on the dress code; however, any questions about it can be directed to her or Mrs. Beers.
Students who are protesting feel the dress code sets unrealistic standards and disproportionately affects girls. Female students who have been consulted claim it perpetuates the standard that it is a girl’s fault that a boy is looking at her. One student that The Squire interviewed shared, “I feel that the dress-code is necessary for setting guidelines for appropriate attire while attending school. However, as a female student, I feel that the dress-code has high standards for girls in a world where fashion has evolved to shorts above mid-thigh, shirts that expose midriff, and tank tops that expose our shoulders. Through my school years, there have been times where I have gotten asked to wear clothes that cover more of my skin, even when the appropriate parts of my body are covered, and I did not feel like my outfit posed an issue towards our dress-code.” This student is a girl that attends Eisenhower who feels strongly about the dress code, and she is not alone. Many students throughout the district have expressed the same opinion.
It is not just Warren County that is calling for a change. According to an article by Esha Pendharkar on edweek.org, “A new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that not only are school dress codes not equitable, but districts that enforce them strictly also predominantly enroll students of color.” Students across the country feel that their schools dress code is unfair to many students, and Warren County students feel the same.
The staff in Warren County School District feel that the dress code is an integral part of our schools. After several very public community protests by students and a student presentation at a recent school board meeting, Warren County School District Superintendent, Amy Stewart, claims that they will be revisiting the dress code over the summer. Stewart’s recognition of the need to address the topic may help make students feel heard in their protests, but it will be difficult to know until next fall. Until the dress code is revised, students must still try their best to follow it.
The Squire would like to thank the students that volunteered to be interviewed as well as The Warren Times Observer for providing more details. More information about the dress code controversy and future updates can be found at www.timesobserver.com. Don’t forget to read more local news on The Squire and follow our Instagram page @ehssquire!