Dress Codes Unfairly Target Female Students


On Friday, December 6th, an 8th-grade student, Reilly Parga, was dressed coded because her jeans had rips above the knee. Anyone looking at this picture wouldn’t think she was breaking the dress code, seeing as she could wear shorts that showed more skin. However, an administrator had Reilly call her mom, who still had 3 other kids to drop off at school, to have her bring her a new pair of pants. Reilly’s mom refused and told her to have the school call her if they have any issues.

According to the dress code linked to the schools’ website, “Dress and accessory choices may not be distracting to the learning environment. The student’s attire should be modest in nature, meaning outfit choices that are distracting … are never acceptable.” This means that if an administrator deems an outfit “distracting” it is a dress code.

This rule is predominantly applied to female students because their male counter-parts find anything even mildly revealing a distraction. This is ludicrous because young women shouldn’t be taught that they have to cover themselves up, the boys should be taught to not objectify the women.

When we teach women that their bodies are “distracting”, we are essentially telling the student that their body and the way they’re presenting themselves is not okay. When the administration threatens to keep kids in the office until they get a change of clothes, they send the message that what a girl is wearing is valued over what she came to school to do, which is to learn.

The dress code states that students cannot “reveal or show cleavage and/or undergarments,” which is a rule that unfairly targets the female student body. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, cleavage means, “the depression between a woman’s breasts especially when made visible by a low-cut neckline.”

This means that if a girl wears a v-neck that exposes her cleavage, it would be a dress code. However, if a boy wears the same shirt, he wouldn’t get dress coded.

The same double-standards apply to the rule regarding undergarments. Female undergarments include bras and underwear, whereas male undergarments are briefs, boxer briefs, or boxer shorts. If a female student is wearing a muscle top their undergarments are exposed, however, if a male student wore the same shirt, since they don’t wear a bra, it would not be a dress code.

The dress code also states that “pants and shorts may not sag, bag, or drag on the ground.” However, I have never once seen this rule enforced.

In addition to this, when male students wear jeans with rips above the knee, their boxers cover the rips. This should be a double dress code, however, in the minds of the administrators, two wrongs make a right.

Seeing as most girls don’t wear boxers when they have rips above the knee, they are forced to cover up the holes. This rule applies even when the rips are below the fingertips. “Shorts/skirts must extend beyond the tips of fingers when arms are hanging normally on a student’s sides,” states the dress code. If they were using common sense, this would mean that all rips should be below the fingertips, not the knee. However, that is not the case.

Another nonsensical rule is one that involves the length of a student’s shorts. Anyone who’s gone shopping for clothes knows that companies do not make shorts that comply with the dress code. If you do happen to find a pair that meets all the requirements, odds are it won’t fit or they’ll look bad on you. Also, everyone’s bodies are shaped differently, and the form of measurement is not consistent from girl to girl. In the summer, girls are forced to wear jeans or leggings if they can’t find shorts of the proper length. The male students don’t have this problem, seeing as streamline brands make shorts for men that adhere to the dress code.

Many students believe that this rule should be changed. “I think that shorts should be longer than the pockets,” states 8th-grade student Kaelin Paringit, “if the pockets are sticking out then there’s a problem.”

Some students are starting to take a stand. 8th-grade student Reilly Parga and her mom have created a petition which now has over 1,000 signatures. They attended an NVUSD Board Meeting on December 12th to try and get a date to discuss these issues. After they spoke to the board, they were directed to the superintendent who they plan to meet with after winter break to discuss the changes that should be made to the dress code.