by Diana McDermott ‘13
The way one dresses contributes to the way one is perceived as an individual. It is nonsense to say looks don’t matter, because they do. The way you dress is a form of non-verbal communication and whether they are right or wrong, people will make inferences based on your clothes about who you are as a person. This means it is absolutely necessary that you dress in a way at school that shows you are a decent person and are serious about your academics.
At Sherwood, the disciplinary consequences of “wearing clothing that is offensive, distracting, or displays drugs, drug paraphelia, gang representation, violence, or failure to wear shoes,” may lead to consequences from a change of clothes to a detention, conference or removal from class.
This is all fine and dandy, if it was actually enforced as rules and not as a suggestion. Punishments for dress code violations differ from situation to situation. Sometimes it can be just a simple reminder from staff members or the violation may result in a detention.
A common belief among the student body is that skirts and shorts should be no higher than a hand above your knee, and sleeves must be at least two inches. However, in the official dress code policy, given to students, these guidelines are not mentioned. These guidelines are helpful and should be included in the definition of the dress code policy to make our expectations clearer.
Girls on average get in trouble for violating the dress code more than guys do. I myself have been reminded before about my low cut shirts and it doesn’t really bother me. The dress code is important for schools because it keeps the class distractions to a minimum. I’m glad when teachers point out issues with my clothing because sometimes I don’t even notice if an outfit is too revealing. In most cases it also is a distraction to one’s self to wear clothing that is not appropriate, because the student will focus more on messing with the outfit than the actual task at hand.
The dress code also includes banning any type of insignia that represents a gang, or drug advertisement/reference. Some argue that not allowing students to wear what they want is a violation of free speech. However, a school’s number one priority is safety and if something a student wears creates conflict, then the school has the right to ban that particular article of clothing. This includes bandannas, baggy pants and other possible representations of gang activity.
Furthermore, school is more or less a professional place, and therefore people in it should be held to professional standards of dress. In the work world there is also an enforced dress code for most companies, and it makes sense to apply the same standards to school. It is one thing to dress a certain way at home when you are with your friends, but at school you should dress nicer because in the end you come to school to work, and not to display what your mother gave you.