Dress Code

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Every weekday morning during the school year, I wake up in order to get ready for school. I eat breakfast, board the bus, and hope my day will be a good one. Once I exit the bus and enter the school, I am unpleasantly greeted by girls hanging out of their shirts along with boys' behinds falling out of their pants. Immediately, my hopefulness evaporates and is replaced with disgust. As I get past those crude sights, I witness a fight due to one student bullying another based on the unfashionable and plain clothes he wears. My day that was supposed to be great has been disturbed again. I know that I am not the only person troubled by these almost daily sights. Therefore, in order to achieve a less distracting workplace and help eliminate violence, Perry Meridian High School (PMHS) needs to implement a stricter dress code. Dress codes have always existed in the United States. They were especially popular throughout the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Once the ‘80s hit, the dress code fad began to die off until the late ‘90s came around. At the beginning of 1997, three percent of public schools required school uniforms, and by the end of 2000, the percentage had increased to twenty-one percent (“School Uniforms Timeline” 2). This is when school uniforms began to come back into style. More and more schools are now adapting school dress code policies. According to Matt Buesing, about twenty-two percent of children across the nation wore some form of a dress code in 2010 (Cavazos 2). Since then, David Brunsma has found that about one in eight public middle schools and high schools in the United States have policies about what students are supposed to wear to school (Motsinger 1). For example, certain schools have a strict dress code that mandates clothing by style and color, while other schools have a more lenient dress code that just bans outrageous or distracting apparel from the workplace. In addition to these schools, there are still schools that have chosen not to implement a dress code at all. Invoking a strict dress code at PMHS could prove to be difficult because students want to wear the clothes that are popular and fashionable. These include torn jeans, revealing and inappropriate shirts, skinny jeans, and tight clothing. Most strict dress codes ban all of these clothes in addition to any clothes that may be affiliated with gangs. Some schools in Texas are even forcing their students to tuck in their shirts, cover their tattoos, and lose any distracting hair styles (Cavazos 3). The schools’ code also prohibits boys from wearing earrings and having facial hair (Cavazos 4). There are more tedious rules, such as no oversized logos, the restriction of flip-flops and other open-toed shoes, and no sideburns past the ear lobe (Cavazos 3). The majority of these rules that have been set at other schools around the country are being broken at PMHS on a daily basis. Whether the students are against the dress code or not, the school board needs to take action and bring about a strict dress code. Although most students would disapprove of a strict dress code, it could prove to be salubrious in the long run. The many benefits of a stern dress code include helping eliminate teasing, creating unity among students, promoting less discrimination, and establishing a more positive environment for learning. In some cases, the dress code can also be attributed to increased attendance, increased graduation rates, and less violence. A study in 2007 conducted by a Youngstown State University professor looked at six Ohio high schools after a dress code was administered. The study showed that after the dress code was implemented, graduation rates increased by 11 percent, while attendance rates also increased and suspension rates decreased (Darden 2). Additional benefits of a dress code could include a lower cost for school clothes and an increase in safety. Safety would improve because it would be easier to spot an intruder if everyone is dressed...
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