Is the Dress Code too Strict?

Is the Dress Code too Strict?

Lauren Alsina

Sydney Rogalsky, Arts & Entertainment Editor

No tank tops. No shorts. No cleavage. No hats. No thick headbands. No holes in any garment. No rolled up pant legs.
The last one sounds like a joke, right? It’s not. No really, page 13 of the Wellington High School student handbook: “Pant legs may not be rolled up. Pants must be worn to the ankles. No exceptions!”
This begs the question: are the rules too strict?
We all know that tank tops were banned this year as a result of last year’s muscle shirt fiasco, but we were never told why all tank tops were banned. Why not just ban muscle shirts? After all, the rules already state that shirts that expose the midriff are banned. Those shirts certainly did just that. So why did people get away with them for so long?
We know that shorts are banned. Almost completely unless they come down to the knee or further. Yet, “chubbies” (short shorts for guys) are perfectly allowed even though they tend to come far above the four-inch requirement (which is difficult for administrators to accurately assess unless they carry rulers). We know that the dress code rules are strict. Many girls in the school have gotten dress code or merely a warning at least once for their tops or skirts or shorts or dresses. So why do guys rarely get dress code?
The answer is simple: the male body is not objectified in our society to the level that the female body is.
Both the WHS and Palm Beach County district handbooks have the same basic requirement for dress code: no clothing that causes distraction.
However, Wellington High School has a rule against shorts for girls. Legs do not drive most people to distraction, and it is not the intent of most girls to cause a distraction when they wear shorts. Their intent is to escape the extreme heat of Florida, the state in which we live.
The average highs in temperature for Florida last year were between 87 and 77 degrees according to the Current Results Nexus.
Most girls want to wear shorts or tank tops to escape the heat, not to be sexual deviants or to cause “classroom distractions.”
Not only is the dress code policy too rigid, the punishment is viewed as too strict by many girls in our school.
If someone is found to be in dress code, they are sent to ISS where they miss all their classes for the day unless their parents can bring a change of clothes.
Why are students compelled to miss classes (sometimes AP, AICE, or even honors classes) because of a simple clothing misdemeanor?
Now it makes sense to give a student detention or even an administrative detention for dress code, but pulling kids out of class makes no sense. The school is basically sending the message: if you don’t dress appropriately, you don’t have to go to class.
Isn’t that an incentive for students to wear more revealing, “distracting” clothing?
It seems awfully similar to skipping class. In ISS, few students do work. No one has to listen to a lecture. No one has to take a test. Basically, if a student doesn’t study or do their homework, he or she need only dress slightly inappropriately and instantly receive a “get out of class free” card in the form of ISS.
The dress code shouldn’t be done away with. The rules, however, should be less dogmatic, and the punishment should not interfere with a student’s right to learn.