As spring and summer rapidly approach, Leesville students are preparing to face the restrictions of dress code once again. As the editorial board of The Mycenaean, we wanted to weigh in with our opinion on the concept and enforcement of the school dress code.
A dress code in a public school system is indisputably necessary. There are certain things that are and should be taboo in the high school setting: vulgar slogans or images on T-shirts, gang-related attire and entirely too-short shorts and too-low shirts.
Rules are set in place for students for a reason. Whether students realize it or not, Leesville’s dress code is essential to their success in the future. These rules are in place because, when students enter the workforce, they need to know how to dress appropriately because it can lead to their ultimate success.
The main issue with enforcing the dress code is not the restrictions, but the way it is enforced. Either teachers don’t enforce it at all, they enforce it on some and not others, or they make a public spectacle that humiliates the student they are dress coding.
The dress code is nearly impossible to enforce on all the Leesville students. However, if teachers were more willing to do so with the students in their classes, and our protocol made it easier and more convenient for them to do so, then it might be more clearly enforced and serve its function.
The dress code as it exists now is unequally enforced. Some students are busted and reprimanded, while other students sit in class breaking dress code without any penalty. Granted, some teachers don’t always notice every dress code violation that enters their classroom; however, if they’re going to enforce it, then they should do their best to pay equal attention to students.
A member of our editorial board has seen an instance of a teacher calling out one person and not another, when the two were walking in the hallway. It’s not fair to pick only some people to enforce dress code on. We see this as something teachers should be careful to avoid, even though it was probably an innocent mistake on their part.
They should also be careful to make sure they treat students equally in the classroom when addressing dress code violations. Even though a more compliant student might be easier to call out than a more difficult student, it doesn’t mean that they should be treated unequally. If a teacher does choose to enforce dress code, they need to enforce it on all students.
The biggest issue with the way dress code is handled is when it is blown out of proportion and made to be more of an issue than it is. Sure, when students break dress code, they are breaking a rule; however, most of the time it is a mistake and does not deserve any humiliation or embarrassment.
Often, teachers don’t realize how mortifying it can be to be reprimanded for dress code in front of peers. Students are sometimes harassed and made fun of by their classmates when the teacher makes a big deal out of their breaking dress code.
This is why teachers should take care to be gentle and understanding, while still firmly enforcing the rules, when a student breaks dress code. If a student continues to break dress code despite teachers’ kind warnings to dress appropriately, then this is obviously a different story.
When teachers don’t address the issue of dress code in a quiet and discreet manner, it becomes an issue of humiliating a student for what he or she meant to be, in some cases, an innocent mistake. While dress code is essential and should be enforced, it should be done so in an equal and gentle fashion.