Dress Code Should Not Dictate What Students Choose to Wear


Dress code is an ongoing issue that has frustration spreading through Sedro-Woolley High School like wildfire. 

It is a battle between the staff and the students to determine what is fit to wear to school, and what isn’t. There is a constant argument on  whether the school is taking the right approach to this situation, as the students feel that it comes across as public shaming. 

According to the Sedro-Woolley High School student handbook, any student violating the dress code will have to change clothes immediately, and will receive a disciplinary infraction. However, the question is, is it worth damaging a student’s permanent record because an inch of skin was showing from the bottom of their shirts to where their pants begin? 

“When it comes to the dress code it seems like everyone says to be yourself, until you actually are, then it’s too much” said sophomore Maritza Troxiclair 

In today’s society, it is common to see girls wearing crop tops. It is an evolution of style. Schools need to adapt to these changes because it is the current trend and kids love it. 

“I feel like I am not distracting the educational process because everyone I know is not bothered by it,” Troxclair says. 

Young women at our school are being told they are distracting the professional learning environment,when a majority of time people don’t feels it is distracting the learning environment. A pattern female students are realizing is that they are the ones being dress coded more than the men at our school, when they tend to be in violation  just as much with their underwear showing because their pants hang low, and the muscle tank tops they wear that show plenty of skin. To some of the girls at our school, it feels to them that there is a double standard.  

“The dress code is based on what is similar across all districts and schools in our area and also based on professional standards expected in many workplaces and future educational environments post secondary,” Principal Kerri Carlton says. 

The dress code in the eyes of the administration is to further the lesson that you must show up to your job one day dressed professionally and appropriately for further success. The dress code at Sedro-Woolley High School is similar to many schools in the regional area. What you find being done at our school is similar to what is being done at many other high schools. But there are other schools that do believe in different approaches when it comes to the dress code.

Looking at other schools, Arlington High School is very at peace with its dress code standards. Administration at Arlington High school feel that they don’t have to many problems involving their districts dress code. So just what is going on in the school to make it so peaceful?

“Our focus is less on what they are wearing and more what they are learning. This is our approach, unless it is blatantly disruptive, or offensive, racist, drug or alcohol promoting,” says Alan Boatman, Vice Principal at Arlington High School. At Arlington high school,  the response to a dress code violation is a private conversation between the admin and the student, no public shaming of any kind. “ it’s rare for students to be disciplined over what they’re wearing as they often change or put more on, etc once a conversation is had,” Says Boatman. At Arlington High School the teachers have had a growth in understanding that students’ clothing choices have developed since they were in high school. 

When it comes to the dress code it really is a school’s personal feelings on what is distracting the educational process and what isn’t. Given that kind of power, schools really need to evaluate how they are using it, and ask themselves if it is really making school a better workplace or a toxic one. Are the schools taking the right approach to this ongoing battle? Until the future is accepted by all then this will continue to be an ongoing battle between the teachers and the students.