The Truth of Being Dress Coded

Dress Coding from the Staffs Point of View

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Dress coding is a fairly vexed topic that both students and staff can find themselves questioning when faced with the topic.  

To some students at Burlington-Edison who have a brush with dress coding, their first impression might be the rules are too controlling, which is understandable to students who have never had their judgment questioned on their choice of clothing. It’s easy to ignore the student’s handbooks rules and remain ignorante to dress code guidelines but the reaction of the students once asked to change their clothes could range from varying degrees. Some comply, and some place blame on the staff.

But what determines clothing as inappropriate? How does the staff handle it? What do they hope the dress code teaches students?  

“We base it on if an adult finds it inappropriate,” Sam Andrews, B-E’s campus security.

Ms. Andrews is asked to handle dress code with female students to make them feel less uncomfortable. In her experience, bare midriff and off-the-shoulder tops are typically what female students are dress coded on and hanging/baggy pants are what male students are usually called on.

“Personally I don’t want to see boxers,” Ms. Andrews said in regards to male dress coding.

When asked about what she hopes the dress code teaches students, Ms. Andrews said, “Dress in a manner that shows respect of you and others.”  

But because dress code is not the biggest priority to staff some students feel targeted. “I don’t go out looking for it.” Ms. Andrews says she only addresses what she see, but does not seek it out. “You can’t wear too much clothes, but you can wear not enough.”

Mr. Jeff Demorest, an assistant principal, gave plenty insight on the topic of dress code.

When asked how he determines clothing as inappropriate Mr. Demorest said, “The word inappropriate is a judgment call, so people are going to disagree. We try to give easy to interpret rules.”

Mr. Demorest also commented about how in some clothing lines it can be hard for girls to find shorts that fit the written dress code of an inch pass the fingers. While dress code is a rule he enforces Mr. Demorest is, “Dying not to talk about dress code with students.”

When handling dress code Mr. Demorest  says, “There is a level of appropriateness for where you are. You need to figure out what it is.”  He see tries to keep the interaction as cooperate, not punitive. “If they fix it I won’t write a violation.”

Later when the question of how students might interpret the dress code, Mr. Demorest said, “(students thinks) …Getting dress coded takes away from someone’s independence. They think it’s a judgment call.”

Mr. Demorest’s final statement is, “I really like our kids. Even when it’s difficult. I really try to understand, and try to minimise how it feels.”

Mr. Campbell, assistant principal, was the final staff member to share information about dress code.

Assistant Principal James Campbell said things that, “Disturb the educational environment,”  are inappropriate. Weapons, drugs, and alcohol depictions are easy to spot as inappropriate. “Teachers sometimes send in referrals.”

When asked about what he hopes the dress code teaches students Mr. Campbell said. “…Hope people have an idea of what is appropriate, how you dress is how you respect yourself.” Campbell later answered what he thinks the students might interpret dress code rules. “They think it’s controlling.”

Mr. Campbell also stated  how there is not exceptions but sometimes the staff does not see the clothing violations.

Clothing is an expression of oneself, and people usually take pride in how they dress. When someone’s choice of dress is questioned they get defensive but in a space where the main priority is education students shoulds express themselves through the guidelines that are given.