Dress codes are always a hassle, not only for females, who typically have the strictest policies, but for everyone in the school.
Oxford High School has recently eased up on their semi-strict dress code. Although it is still written in the student handbook, teachers are supposed to use their judgement of what can fly. The first and last sentence of dress code policies in the handbook are what still stand as to how a dress code violation could occur.
The first line reads “Clothing and general appearance are not to cause a disturbance or interfere with the instructional program. Clothing and general appearance must not constitute a health or safety hazard.”
The last line reads “Students shall not dress in any manner reasonably deemed to be inappropriate and disruptive to the learning process as determined by the school principal.”
These statements are very vague and do not give any type of concrete information on what type of clothing is deemed “inappropriate,” “disruptive,” or a “safety hazard.” Because everyone has their own judgement of what is inappropriate, students have taken the liberty of making up their own personal dress codes to abide by. They wear what they feel comfortable or fashionable in, which so far has not been problematic in terms of distraction.
In previous years dress code was taken much more seriously. If one was out of code they would be sent to the office and sent home if they could not get a spare change of clothes. This process disrupts both the student’s and the their classmates’ ability to learn. Dresscoding students distracts teachers that have to call the offenders out and it takes time out of the 49 minutes of class, all just to simply point out what a student is wearing and force them to change.
Dress codes are meant to keep distraction to a minimal, however, it seems that enforcing the codes creates more distraction than the outfit worn would. OHS disbanding the dress code is definitely a step in the right direction. Although there is still an unspoken rule of “no boobs, butts, or bellies,” this is both understandable and practical. Socially there must be a dress code because otherwise too many people may simply embrace their bare bodies, which may offend other people.
The dress code enforcement was changed along with announcements, being called to the office, and pep-rally scheduling. They were seen as unnecessary disruptions of instructional time and making the change only helps students to gain a better education.
“It’s our goal to have students in classrooms where they can learn.” said Bradley Roberson, OHS principal.
“By focusing on those two statements and utilizing common sense and good judgement, we have been able to accomplish that goal more so than in past years.”