Don’t Mess Up When You Dress Up: School Dress Code Fair


Kylie Carrier, Staff Reporter

Shorts that are too short, crop tops, inappropriate symbols advertising a gang and the showing of undergarments are some of the items the school’s dress code directly or indirectly prohibited in the school learning environment.

When read, the school dress code is reasonable, as it is a policy that is used to encourage students to focus on their school work and not the latest fashions.

“We try to limit the things that we feel will interrupt the educational environment,” said Samantha Smigielski, dean of students.

The dress code has a purpose to it. It helps students be successful in their learning environments. It’s not there to punish the students by asking them to wear appropriate clothes; it’s there to make sure students are not distracted by what they wear or by what others are wearing. Therefore, our school dress code is a fair, objective and unbiased policy to all students and should be followed as well as enforced.

“You can’t tell that there is a dress code,” said Ella Brandt, freshman. “Nobody really knows it is there.”

This is probably because many students do a great job sticking to the right choice of clothing, but others may have different fashion senses that break the dress code policy. This is definitely a problem.  They need to be more aware of the dress code in order to follow it.

And the main reason for following it is to encourage learning by preventing distraction.

For example, sometimes students bring in accessories, such as baseball hats, that can disrupt a class.  Other students might want to see it or try it on.  Sometimes these accessories can signal gang relationships, which can then become a threat to other students. When a student feels threatened in his environment, he is less likely to perform well. Saying that inappropriate dress can be a distraction is not an exaggeration. There are examples, such as these, that show someone’s appearance interrupting school work.

MHS hasn’t been unfair in its regulations– the school has a history of updating the dress code to keep up with fashion trends, and it creates a dress code based on other dress codes in the area.

“Compared to other schools that are in our conference, we are pretty lenient,” said Smigielski.

At Waukegan High School, for example, it has a stricter dress code than MHS. Its dress code has more detail and more rules for the students to follow.

At MHS, we have a simple dress code by comparison, and it is comparable to the schools in the surrounding area. The dress code at Libertyville High School has similar rules in order to get students to focus more on their education rather than extreme outfits.

And when compared to the dress code policies of middle schools, many students said this policy definitely gives them more freedom.

“Our dress code now gives us more privilege to wear what we want without getting called out on it like [in] middle school,” said Sydney Naddy, freshman.

A high school dress code should be more flexible as students get older and take more responsibility for what they are wearing.

Being aware of one’s dress and the dress code of his or her environment are important life skills to learn for the future. In college or at any job, there will be a dress code. Our high school dress code makes sure that our students can be capable of wearing appropriate clothing for specific work and learning environments.

It’s okay if the school dress code doesn’t stick out to students or come to mind when they are getting dressed in the morning, but it’s still necessary for the school to have one, particularly for people who do not dress appropriately and must be called out on it by an MHS staff member.

However, if students have a problem with the dress code, students can take the initiative to do something about it.  They could talk through their suggestions with the dean of students.

In my mind, though, I believe that our school dress code hits the key points of making sure that a student’s dress does not become distracting in the classroom. There’s no need to update it currently, but that may change with time and fashion trends.