Most schools have a dress code in order to keep students from wearing inappropriate clothing to school. However, the ideas of what constitutes as inappropriate clothing are not always fair.
Hillsborough’s dress code bans the showing of midriffs, cleavage, shoulders, or underwear. Hats, hoods, or anything displaying inappropriate language or gestures are also banned. Hillsborough’s code is more lenient than other schools, but it’s still not fair.
The majority of dress code rules target women.
Sophomore Madeline Wilson recounted an experience where she was dress coded: “I came to school in a top with a little of my stomach showing, and a substitute tells me to cover up, not caring about the male student wearing a hat against the dress code,” she said.
Both hats and midriffs are not permitted according to the dress code but only the female student was punished.
It is common to see men in the hallways, pants down past their underwear. However, it’s rare to see any action taken to stop these dress code violators. The sexism isn’t even trying to be hidden.
There are many practical reasons why a student would wear more “revealing” clothing.
Often, in hotter months or when the AC is down, it gets too hot to wear a jacket or long pants. People will consequently wear shorter clothes, like tank tops, crop tops, and short shorts, all of which go against the dress code. Studying in uncomfortable conditions can limit a student’s chance for success. Students are taken out of class to get punished for an excess amount of skin, even though they were just trying to stay cool in the heat. A student’s education should never be compromised because they are wearing what is seen as inappropriate clothing.
Because women are often the main recipients of dress code infractions, they are the main ones being taught that their education is less important than that of their male peers. They are taught that they should sacrifice their education because the men in their classrooms lack self-control.
The solution is to make it less restrictive to consider the Florida heat, as well as provide equal enforcement of the code. If a female student gets dress coded for showing her shoulders, then a male student breaking the same rule should also be dress coded. A broader and fairer dress code ensures that all students will be treated equally.