Decode the Dress Code

Meghan Oehlerking, Reporter

Dress codes are quite the controversial topic in 2017, and reason being is that because it is considered sexist, discriminating , impractical, and just unfair. It is considered sexist because the dress codes are specifically targeted towards women. While that may be true in a majority of America, here at Olympia High School, the dress code is honestly balanced. If you actually take a look at the OHS dress code, the same rules apply to be followed with Olympia’s dress code.

There are differing opinions on the dress code though. Freshman Rileigh Mosser does believe that the dress codes are fair, saying “On some levels, I think the Olympia High School dress code is very fair. We are allowed to wear almost everything as long as we are not flashing anyone. The problem I have is when I see a girl walking around in a sports bra, but I get dress coded for wearing a cropped hoodie. I think body shaming has to do with it. People that look flattering tend to get away with it more I think.” When asked what Mosser would change, she said nothing. “We have a really loose dress code and I can’t really change a teacher’s mind. I’m not going to start a petition for people to be able to roam around in their underwear.” Mosser brings up the point that Olympia has a loose dress code already. “Compared to other schools, we have a great dress code. One of my friends goes to a high school that requires shirts and dresses to be knee length, and your chest must be covered. Tank tops aren’t even allowed. I even have a friend that has to wear a school uniform. I’m proud that Oly has such an open mind about letting people choose their own clothing.” Mosser talks about other student’s experiences with dress code and elaborates on her own here at Oly and at other schools. “I’m really insecure about my body, so I haven’t had a lot of personal experience with it since I normally tend to cover up. I know that in the past, dress codes at my previous schools have been very selective. The kids the  teachers didn’t like would get sent to the office to change quicker than a ‘good student’ wearing an even  shorter skirt. I think dress code is fair until you start changing the rules for different people.”

Students aren’t the only ones though that have opinions on the subject. English teacher Danielle Canfield agrees that the OHS dress code is fair. “I think Olympia High School has an extremely fair dress code that allows for freedom in expressing personal style, while still letting students learn in a comfortable environment.” When asked about comparison to other schools, Ms. Canfield says “I’ve seen other schools exercise stricter dress codes that can often limit creativity in individual style. By comparison, Olympia High School gives students much more room to express themselves.” On the subject of whether or not the dress code is gender specific, Ms. Canfield comments, “I don’t find the dress code to be gender-specific, and I think that is a really important part of why Olympia High School’s dress code policy is so fair. Our dress code policy outlines the same rules for all members of our student body.”

Administrator, Mrs. Welsh, agrees that they make the dress code very fair. “We try to keep it gender neutral and understand the fashion and the times.” Though, even if the dress code is fair, the school does recieve complaints from both parents and students. “We recieve emails from both students and parents about students getting in trouble with the dress code. The only times that students are in trouble with the dress code is when they are referencing drugs and alcohol or discriminating things.”

Administrator Mrs.Welsh agrees that the Olympia High School dress code is fair, saying “We work to make sure our dress code is fair for everyone, knowing that dress codes can be targeted towards females. We also set the standards with clothing trends in mind and the seasons. And it is fair compared to other schools who may not compromise even though trends can make it hard to fit in with the dress code.” The administration also has a goal to allow students to express themselves. “If you say no to just about everything, it makes it difficult for students to express themselves.” While the school does receive complaints from both students and parents, there are very few cases of students getting in trouble for dress code violation and it is not always for not being covered, Welsh elaborates with “We mainly focus on if what the student is wearing is offensive or promotes drugs and alcohol. Those things can distract students from their learning and offend others.”

In conclusion, Olympia High School has a fair, reasonable and very gender neutral dress code compared to other schools, administrators. Administrators, staff, and students agree.