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The Student News Site of West Boca Raton High School

The West Boca Bullseye

The Student News Site of West Boca Raton High School

The West Boca Bullseye

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Is Dress Code Worth the Teen Controversy?

Teens+standing+in+a+row+with+a+yellow+wall+in+the+background.+
Sara Carrus
Teens standing in a row with a yellow wall in the background.

People have always been using the way they dress as a form of self-expression. First impressions are important to people, especially teens trying to fit into today’s society with trends. Although most would agree they would rather pick their outfits, many prefer implementing a dress code in schools. 

Dress codes were originally made to encourage professional clothing. It started with covering shoulders and wearing longer pants, but over time it has become more specific. To enter most schools in Florida your pants must be past your knees and your shirt has to be un-cropped and have a high neckline. This doesn’t sound too strict unless you look at the restrictions. Bare midriffs, Gaiters, gas masks, scarves, Pajamas, or any type of headwear are restricted. There can be exceptions to masks for safety, sunglasses during gym, and headwraps for some who prefer it, but it is different for every school. 

While there are probably reasons for these restrictions, I feel the school expects too much from students. They put bad labels on common accessories, which can be disrespectful to some minorities. When I asked my teacher why headwear was banned, they stated it was because it can be associated with ‘gangs and bad behavior’. Head wraps and durags can be used to help maintain hair and associating them with violence can be problematic. It’s confusing to me why just wearing something on your head is seen as a distraction or even a threat. There have been several times I’ve been asked to take my hood off when I’m wearing it just because I’m cold. In my opinion, this doesn’t harm anyone or myself. There are also many times that there are stricter dress codes enforced on girls as opposed to boys. This begs the question of gender bias in school-implemented dress codes. I asked my classmate Brianna her opinion and she said, “I honestly do not understand why I can’t wear a tank top when it is so hot outside. ” My other classmate Firuza stated, “I understand not dressing provocatively but I wish I could wear cute off-the-shoulder clothing.”  Schools in Palm Beach County put inappropriate labels on students that may change the way a student views their body, encouraging insecurity amongst teens who already have low self-esteem due to social media. 

In my opinion, it’s most important that teens feel comfortable while learning. When looking at the dress code, I noticed that not only are small clothes restricted, but if you wear anything too baggy it technically violates the dress code. I feel like most schools fail to realize that not everybody is comfortable wearing tight clothing. When I asked my sister with anxiety how she felt about the issue she shared her own experience with me. She said that she was told by a teacher that if she wore anything too baggy she would get a zero for the day. While it didn’t even affect the teacher, this created a problem for my sister. She had never worn anything tight to school and she wasn’t used to wearing clothes that showed her body. She ended up taking the zero for the day. Dress code shouldn’t dictate some ones grade in a class.  

There are some parts of the dress code that I wouldn’t initially think would be an issue. When I looked at the dress code it states that you have to have close-toed shoes. At first, I thought this was a little dramatic, but when I looked at the lawsuits against the school I changed my mind. Only last year was a lawsuit against Palm Beach County School District because there was “alleging negligence during ‘Skull Breaker’ TikTok challenge”(Nam). The skull breaker challenge is where someone would tell the other person to jump, and then swipe their legs from under them. Someone did this challenge on school grounds and broke their arm. This was completely the kid’s fault. While it was on school grounds, the bell had already rung and every teacher was leaving. Schools already have to watch out for other rules, and the last thing they need to worry about is a broken toe because you want to wear flip-flops. Schools are responsible for kids once they enter the school. Dress codes are also implemented for safety, not to just go against students. Whether it seems fair or not. 

When I asked a fellow student Madison Gorham how she felt about the subject she said “There are students at the school who genuinely feel uncomfortable being surrounded by people who have so much skin showing because of how they were raised. These individuals might feel like this because of their religious beliefs or even just the opinions of their parents that have become the opinions of themselves.” To elaborate, the school should allow the students to express themselves in clothing that they choose to wear, but the students should also allow the school to enforce rules to reach a happy medium between both the students and the school. 

From considering all sides of the dress code argument, I learned that even though the dress code is a little dramatic, it can be for an important reason. I would suggest they focus on the important part of the dress code, including the safety of students. I feel like they should stop limiting students’ freedom on small things like wearing a hood on their heads or comfortable pants on a bad day. The school should work to be more cautious about what they ban because it’s not always things they need to be worrying about. 

 

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About the Contributor
Sara Carrus, Reporter
Hi! My name is Sara Carrus and I am a junior here at West Boca. I enjoy going on walks and watching cartoons. I'm planning on getting a degree at UCF. I’m very excited to get more involved with the school!
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