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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.       


B-E Staff
Jamie Kness, Journalist

On a normal day in class Jamie is writing articles, interviewing students or staff and filming videos for the morning show. The best part of Multi-Media Journalism for Jamie is being able to write articles and interview people. She is also glad that she got to write two controversial pieces this year. She takes this class because she wants to pursue a career in journalism.


2 Responses to “The Truth of Being Dress Coded”

  1. Summer Ray on February 26th, 2019 4:42 pm

    I think a lot of it for me is who decided what to call out and who to call out. Certain teachers are pickier than others. For an example, hats are against school rules unless you’re outside or approved by an administrator and today I sat in my math class with a kid with a hat. I know a hat is different than “bare mid-riff” but you can also think of bandanas. Tell me you’ve never seen a student on a spirit day wear a blue or gold bandana to school. Most of the school rules around dress codes apply to women, shirts, shorts, skirts, etc. The handbook says “all attire needs to be respectful of self and others” and I don’t think some girl wearing a spaghetti strap or showing some “bare mid-riff” is disrespectful personally at least. I can still give “due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of others” while having 3 inches of my belly exposed. Teach me to love my body, teach people not to judge you by your attire, teach people to respect each other while accepting our differences. It doesn’t take a one-inch strap, one inch below the fingertip shorts or no “bare mid-riff” for me to respect myself and you. But is my attire respectful of others? I don’t know ask my crop top.

  2. Mr. Ackerson on March 24th, 2019 8:54 pm

    Teachers are all different people with different perspectives. A hat may not bother me at all, while socks promoting drugs will (if you’re the student who was called down to the office for this, yes, that was me, sorry). I taught at a school where hats were allowed, but only with the bills pointed straight forward or straight back – students could not wear their hats like ‘thugs’ might – so that has stuck with me. I think showing “too much skin” on a guy or girl is going to be distracting… but as a male teacher, I would be quicker to talk to a guy about this. I also try and focus on what is most important, relationships and education. I sometimes simply do not have the time or energy to enforce every detail of school policy. I tend to want to treat students with respect and try and teach students to make their own good choices. I did not become a teacher because I enjoy policing, I could have been a prison guard if I was into that – I became a teacher to try and educate and be a positive influence in students’ lives. I would encourage students to think about the perspective of others and to ask yourself why you wear what you wear. If you wear revealing clothing, as a guy or girl, why are you doing it? Is it self expression or are you trying to attract attention? If it is the later – is that going to attract the attention that you actually desire?

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The Truth of Being Dress Coded