USD232 Dress Code: Is it Too Restrictive?

Students share their grievances and opinions with the school dress code

Liz Coenen, Staff Reporter

“Do you have a jacket to put over that?” you hear a voice from behind. You turn around just to be greeted by a teacher looking you up and down. As you look at your spaghetti strap top, you wonder, “how is my tank top a disruption to others’ learning?”

Over the years, there have been countless debates on school dress codes all over the country. While each dress code is unique to its district, the USD 232 dress code is a standard type. 

This includes no mid-drifts, no showing of undergarments, clothing that suggests a lack of undergarments, slippers, pajamas, tube tops, spaghetti straps, revealing necklines, certain chains, etc. 

However, students at De Soto are lucky as the rival school, Mill Valley, bans all hats (with the exception of religious headwear). This includes durags which are used in black culture. This rule has been deemed extremely controversial as this could be seen as racial discrimination.  Freshman Ria Hudson disagrees with Mill Valley’s ban.

“Banning durags and hats is not realistic,” Hudson said. “Everyone should be able to express themselves without consequences. It’s inappropriate.” 

While the dress code is pretty standard for most schools, it has still invoked rage among students. Many teens, along with sophomore Sydney Coffman, believe that the school dress code is sexist toward women. 

“The men’s dress code is so much less restrictive than the women’s,” Coffman said. “If guys were to wear t-shirts that show off their muscles, nothing is said, but if my shoulder shows, it’s a huge deal.” 

Many students see the dress code as unnecessary, especially banning spaghetti straps, Senior Jay Meo doesn’t agree with the policy.  

“I can show my shoulders, but some girl walking down the hallway is getting sent to the office because her shoulders are distracting the boys,” Meo explains. “[The administration] doesn’t put any trust in the men in the school. I’m not going to walk up to a girl and be like nice shoulders. It’s just not reality.” 

Many schools say that revealing clothes is a “distraction to learning” or that they are trying to “prepare students for the workplace”. Some even go as far as to say that it is to protect women from unwanted advantages from men. While these statements could be valid under some circumstances, most students believe that none of these reasons justify the sexism rooted in school dress codes.

“If people, in general, can’t control their own bodies, that should not be up to the victim it should be up to the perpetrator,” Hudson said. “Each workplace requires a different dress code, so it’s really not up to the school to set those boundaries on women’s bodies”. 

While administrators deem the dress code an important aspect of school professionalism, many students feel the consequences. As the administration put out anti-discrimination codes, female students can not help but feel discriminated against. Female students should not feel like their body type or style is a distraction to their peers. For years this has been a huge issue in the education system, making coming to school so much harder for students in the district.