Why there shouldn’t be school dress codes

From elementary school to high school, school dress codes have always been enforced, dictating what a student can and cannot wear. Schools, though, should have no right to tell students how they should dress. School dress codes should be abolished so that students have the freedom to wear whatever they want to school.

In most schools, girls are prohibited from wearing tank tops, low-cut shirts and shorts or skirts that are “too short.” Teachers call out girls who break these rules by saying they’re too distracting. But here are my questions: Whom are they distracting and how are they distracting? And shouldn’t phones be banned in schools for being too distracting then? Many students attempt to use their phones in class, which is a huge distraction, but they are still allowed in school. Other students distract each other by talking in class, but talking is still allowed. Yet, somehow a girl sitting in class trying to learn is just too distracting because she’s wearing a spaghetti-strapped top?  And I highly doubt that boys are going to find girls’ shoulders and collarbones distracting. But if they do, girls shouldn’t be responsible for that; boys should be able to control themselves. These dress codes sexualize women’s bodies and reinforce the idea that not only do women’s bodies pose an inappropriate learning environment, but are also at fault.

Many people who support school dress codes think that if there weren’t dress codes, kids wouldn’t know what is appropriate to wear to school. They think that if there weren’t dress codes, students would show up to school wearing shirts that have curse words or inappropriate graphics on them. Well, I think that students have at least a bit of common sense of what is appropriate to wear to school. If the legal voting age in the U.S. is 18, and in some countries as low as 16, teens should have the right to wear what they want to school without fear of punishment.

Another reason to abolish school dress codes is that it limits students’ self-expression,  and freedom. Clothing isn’t just a piece of fabric, it’s how students express themselves and find their identity. Some feel that schools target students of a different race, ethnicity or cultural background that prohibit things like durag or dreadlocks. Critics argue that these types of dress codes criminalize culture, which results in a lack of cultural diversity in schools. All in all, schools shouldn’t have a right to limit what students can wear because it sexualizes females, criminalizes people of color and overall doesn’t allow students to express themselves.