Dress Code

1030 Words 5 Pages
Do dress codes with the purpose of restraining a student’s attire intrude on his or her First Amendment right to free speech? The Supreme Court has found some speech, verbal and nonverbal, is protected. On the other hand, the Supreme Court has also found that students’ dress, although a means of expression, can be regulated by schools. Some courts have demanded the rights of students be balanced against the need for school leaders to make logical health and safety laws. Most dress code policies prohibit clothes that are obscene and offensive to others. These policies also state students’ dress or personal grooming may not cause a distraction to the educational environment and appropriate to standards of the community. In an effort to restrain …show more content…
These cases are Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, Bethel School District v. Fraser, and Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier. These cases characterize a variety of patterns; however, some of these cases do not involve students’ attire at school. In Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District involves a student, Mary Beth Tinker and a group of students wearing black armband to school to protest the war in Vietnam. The students were suspended when the school enacted a policy banning armbands. The Supreme Court reverse a lower court’s ruling and found the armbands were not a disruption. In Bethel School District v. Fraser, Matthew Fraser was suspended for using indirect sexual metaphors in a student government nomination speech. The Supreme Court compared the political speech in Tinker with the sexual references made by Fraser. The Court ruled Fraser speech was offensive and not protected by the First Amendment. In Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, a principal removed two students’ articles from the school newspaper. The articles covered the effects of divorce on students and teenage pregnancy. The Court ruled in favor of the school. The Courts said the school newspaper was a closed forum; therefore, the school had the right to control what goes in …show more content…
One of the arguments against uniform policy is the violation of students’ First Amendment rights to freedom of express. Others argue that the uniform policy get in the way of students experimenting with their individual identities. Another argument is that educational leaders use the uniform policy as an instrument of organizational power and control. And many of those in opposition to the uniform policy also feel it is only a small step solution to the problem of ethnic and economic inequality. According to Lumsden (2011), “the lack of conclusive evidence concerning whether uniforms or restrictive dress policies really have a positive impact is also cited by opponents. Loren Siegel, director of the Public Education Department for the ACLU, points out that whereas the Long Beach School District claims uniforms resulted in a reduction in certain forms of student misconduct and improved student achievement, a causal relationship may not exist. Since other changes were instituted about the same time the uniform policy was put into effect, it is difficult to determine which variables were actually responsible for the subsequent drop in misbehavior”(p.

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