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  • LTI Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, April 27 during 4th period

Addressing the Dress Code

Gianni Healey, Reporter

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“I use my own judgement of what should and should not be worn, and if I think that it is inappropriate, I air on the side of caution,” said social studies teacher, Mr. King.

In Montgomery County Schools, there is a Code of Conduct with regard to dress code policies. If you were to actually read the fine print, you’d see that under the section of  “MCPS Philosophy of Discipline,” it is the student’s responsibility to demonstrate pride in themselves by dressing appropriately and focusing on their studies.

Everyone has different views on what is appropriate and what is not. Some believe that crop tops and high waisted pants are appropriate and cute. Others would disagree.

“I think your [the student’s] opinion of what is appropriate and adult’s opinions of what is appropriate is totally different,” said World History teacher, Mr. Giles.

If this is the case, with no clear cut rules differentiating between appropriate and not-appropriate, how can a dress code be followed? If a student is wearing something they feel comfortable in and deem appropriate for school, technically, they’re following the student code of conduct… aren’t they?

This article also states that each school has the responsibility to develop their own code of conduct. When you look up Kennedy’s, there is none. Even when thoroughly searched, the school website has no sort of written code stating what is or isn’t considered appropriate for school.

“We have a dress code?” said Mr. Giles. “You all wear whatever you want.”

The lack of clear rules makes it difficult to consistently address dress code “violations.” This often leaves students, particularly girls, feeling targeted unfairly by the dress code rules.

“I think [the dress code] is definitely more strict on women because we are usually seen as the ‘distraction,’ which again isn’t fair because guys can be just as distracting as girls can,” said junior, Inayah Avant.

Sophomore Michael Garcia believes this is because girls “have more to reveal” than boys do.

Boys and girls alike can violate the dress code, though it is often for different reasons. King finds that girls are typically sent down to “put a shirt on to cover something up,” while boys are sent down to change clothing that may have obscene images or profanity on it. This in itself brings up an important issue that many girls feel makes them more likely to be dress coded; boys are asked to change because of things on their clothes, but girls are asked to change because of their bodies.

“I understand that some things can be vulgar to wear to school, but teaching girls to cover up to not look promiscuous and cater to boys is gross,” said junior Rebeca Rodriguez. “Girls should not be degraded for wearing tank tops and shorts. It’s hot!”

Even within the community of girls at Kennedy the dress code is not entirely fair. Girls with different body types feel more judged by what they wear than others.

“From my experience, I noticed another student and I and were wearing the same thing and because of my body type I was told to cover up… whereas the other girl had no comments at all,” said junior Nadia Negash.

There have been debates about the best way to tackle the dress code situation. Some schools opt for a universal uniform that everyone must wear every day, others have strict dress codes that are rigidly enforced, and other schools have very lenient ones. What is clear, however, is that here at Kennedy there is a need for clarity and consistency. Either everyone follows the dress code and the punishments for boys and girls are equal, or we let the students decide what is appropriate for themselves.

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Addressing the Dress Code