Wait, Leesville has a dress code?

This outfit breaks multiple rules in Leesville Road High School’s dress code, including inappropriate length of shorts and a top exposing bare midriff. Even though it does not follow the requirements of the code, I have worn this outfit multiple times and gotten away with it. (Photo courtesy of Olivia Fontaine.)

Basic rules and regulations are undeniably necessary in order to keep authority and structure in schools, but how much have school dress codes truly been enforced? Wake County’s Dress Code Policy is as follows:

  • No exposed undergarments
  • No sagging pants
  • No see-through or excessively short, tight or revealing clothes
  • No bare midriff or strapless shirts
  • No clothing with lewd, indecent or vulgar messages or illustrations
  • No clothing that advertises products or services illegal to minors
  • No head coverings
  • No chains, spikes or other accessories that could be perceived as or used as a weapon
  • No clothing that violates the school system’s policies against gang and gang-related activities

The stated items were created to keep students dressed appropriate for school. Leesville Road High School’s job regarding dress code is to enforce the rules created by Wake County. Over my four years of attending Leesville, I have not seen an appropriate enforcement of this school standard.

Since starting high school in 2015, I have never felt constricted or even controlled by the dress code at Leesville. It is wonderful that our school allows its students to express themselves through their clothing; however, if a school is going to state and promote a dress code, it is in their best interest to enforce the dress code.

If schools and its administrators want to maintain credibility in its rules, they must follow through and enforce all regulations.

In a poll taken by students of Leesville, 97 out of 111 students confessed to breaking the dress code and not getting caught. “The main purpose of a dress code is to wear appropriate clothing in school… I do not think that Leesville addresses and enforces this enough,” said Lauren Petrini, a junior at Leesville. “I’ve never been dress coded in high school, even though I know I’ve broken the dress code multiple times,” continued Petrini.

With these statistics and quotes, it is clear that Leesville is loose with the enforcement of its dress code.

The jump from middle school dress code to high school dress code was drastic. Durant Road Middle School required me and my peers to wear shorts no shorter than where are fingertips reached our legs. The middle school dress code also prevented all girls from wearing spaghetti strap shirts or exposed midriffs. Personally, I always believed this dress code was a little extreme, but they decided on a dress code and enforced it heavily.

Leesville has a similar dress code. However, the school fails to implement and apply the rules. As this continues to happen, the school will slowly lose any authority in requiring a dress code.

By not fully implementing its dress code, Leesville is failing to follow county-wide policies for schools. “Students are expected to adhere to standards of dress and appearance that are compatible with an effective learning environment. Presenting a bodily appearance or wearing clothing which is disruptive, provocative, revealing, profane, vulgar, offensive or obscene, or which endangers the health or safety of the student or others is prohibited,” stated Wake County Public School System, addressing rules of conduct that all schools are expected to enforce.

In addition to the lack of dress code enforcement, Leesville fails to explain and inform all students of the code. “I don’t think that Leesville defines the dress code expectations very well. I have been at Leesville for four years, and I still don’t know exactly what the regulations are,” said Quinn Conrad, a senior at Leesville.

Students with exposed midriffs, sagging pants, short shorts, and strapless tops wander the hallways every day. I have worn half of these items to school, knowing that they went against the dress code at Leesville. Every time I wear these items, I am confident that I won’t be confronted or faced with any consequences. I have been able to form this mindset because of Leesville’s lack of enforcement.

I have currently been attending Leesville Road High School for about 600 days. This vast amount of time spent in one place has allowed me to watch, learn and observe my school. I have been able to witness Leesville’s main objectives in school administration, and it has become clear that the school’s dress code is not very high on the list. I don’t believe that dealing with school dress codes should be a schools biggest focus, but I do believe, in order to maintain authority, all school rules must be enforced.


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