School Dress Codes

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The Harms of School Dress Codes
Dress codes in schools have been implemented for some time now. While dress codes are primarily put in place to secure an effective learning environment, they subject students to many detrimental effects. Noelle Swan stated, “There’s a reason that this conversation is so difficult; it involves issues of self image, freedom of expression, and gender politics all wrapped up in an argument,” (Swan).

Dress codes receive opposition for many reasons, one being that they take any basic rights of expression. American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) President Nadine Strossen acknowledged, “The harms [of dress codes] are many. From a free speech point of view, they prevent students from expressing themselves, either directly,
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Perhaps the most well known and influential case in Tinker vs. Des Moines Independent School District. When a handful of students decided to wear black armbands to school to protest the Vietnam War, the school was not happy. After refusing to remove the bands, several students were suspended. That took this case to the Supreme Court, where it was determined in favor of the students. It was said that students do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech and expression at the schoolhouse door,” (Haynes).
Though students triumph in law cases regarding freedom of speech in regards to dress code, the government is unable to provide concrete guidelines for dress codes. The only ____ they provide are these two rules; the dress code may only be put in place if a garment is “a substantial disruption of the school environment” or “an invasion on the rights of others,” (Haynes). This leaves much room for interpretation, and schools are not shy when it comes to enforcing their
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This was against the school dress code. She was forced to wear a “shame suit” that consisted of brightly colored garments both clearly showcasing the words “DRESS CODE VIOLATION” (Oliver). When teachers or other faculty members remove students from their classroom to address dress code infringement, they most often do so without sensitivity. Alexi Halket believes “school dress codes teach female students that their bodies are a problem and they have to cover up. They should really be teaching acceptance and body positivity, and also human rights,”

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