Dress Code Regulation
One school’s interpretation of a dress code is slightly
different from another, but the main purpose for such codes are to keep students from dressing inappropriately and provide a standard for every student to meet. At George W. F. McMechen High School, the Board of Commissions have made a clear
list of clothing items that are not tolerated in school property. Such items include fur and animal skin jackets, coats, vests, pants, or skirts, the “torn clothes”look, visible gold or silver chains, ropes, necklaces or rings, undergarments worn as outerwear, wearing apparel printed with vulgar or obscene
statements or related to the use of drugs, alcohol, sex and violence, footwear such as slippers, thongs, & flip flops, hats, pajama-type attire, shorts, halter tops, tank tops, muscle shirts and see-through tops, spandex sportswear, sunglasses inside the building, mini skirts/shorts, hooded sweatshirts, head phones, and cell phones. Such dress can be a distraction in the school environment, offend others, and create unnecessary drama in the classroom. With the help of a standard uniform, these problems can be quickly resolved and avoid problems in the future as well.
Showing“too much skin” has been an age old dilemma when it comes to dress code, but parents, teachers, and even students alike believe that it’s important to put limitations on what students are permitted to wear to school. Senior Samantha Toscano of University of Delaware comments in “The Review”, “is it too much to ask for students to maintain some integrity and professionalism in the classroom? We take professors seriously as educators and experts and want
them to take us seriously as students.
The goals schools have in mind when attempting to institute school uniforms are to limit discrepancy over what is acceptable to wear to school, take away distractions from classrooms, and allow all students to feel comfortable in their learning environments.
Education is not the only factor in play when discussing the positive effects school uniforms can have on students. Although the quality of a student’s education is very important, their safety is more so. It wasn’t until a gang shootout in Long Beach, California that school officials began to identify the importance school uniforms could have. The only way officers could identify students as the children who needed assistance if future instances were to occur were
through uniforms. In 1994, Long Beach mandated uniforms at all its elementary schools after issuing uniforms at some of the local schools. Test scores and grades rose. Absenteeism, failures and discipline problems declined. Schools in more than 35 states have now adopted uniforms policies, with Philadelphia set to adopt such a policy this fall.
In a Long Beach case study conducted in 1995 after school uniforms were adopted, overall crime rate dropped by 91 percent, school suspensions dropped by 90 percent, sex offenses were reduced by 96 percent, and incidents of vandalism decreased by 69 percent.
Other improvements have come from Woodrow Wilson High School, whose suspension numbers in 1997 stood at 861. Three years later, after the institution of school uniforms, the number of students suspended took a nosedive to 280. In places such as England, where school uniforms are more commonly found, one thing uniforms have proven is that, “Students have a range of abilities, but they all share one thing in common: respect for the teachers,the school, and themselves."
Growing up in a designer world can put an incredible amount of pressure on young boys and girls of the 21st century. Having clothes that are considered “in” is not the easiest thing in the world, especially during hard economic times. Young children tend to associate with children most like themselves, and lower class students are susceptible to being left out of groups of friends and bullying in schools. The clothes children wear, however, can misrepresent the person they truly are behind the designer jeans and brand-name sweater. Competition for popular clothing items among classmates and the differentiation between upper-class and lower-class students by the clothes they wear are diminished with the help of uniforms in the school system. In Bill Clinton’s State of the Union Address in 1996, when mentioning school uniforms in the United States, he
said, “If it means that teenagers will stop killing each other over designer jackets, then our public schools should be able to require their students to wear school uniforms."Focus in the classroom is no longer on who has the nicest shoes or the coolest designer bag, but on the teachers’ lessons and the people their classmates are behind the clothing.