Across the country, high school students test their schools’ dress codes for a variety of reasons. Here at Camas High School, administrators created a school dress code to keep the distraction level for students at a minimum. While everyone can agree that school should be a focused learning environment, some argue whether wardrobe choices are a true distraction from that learning.
In the classroom, teachers handle dress codes first hand. Some teachers believe not following the dress code is a distraction, such as band teacher Richard Mancini who says, “It is a distraction to people and you are here to learn.” On the other hand, science teacher Alixandra Coker thinks, “It can sometimes disproportionately affect female students in some aspects.” She adds, “It also can be restrictive depending on the body type of the student. Female students have mentioned specifically the tank top/ shoulder restriction, even if the rest of the student is appropriately covered, but have their shoulders exposed, they feel like they are not violating appropriate dress – which I would agree with.”
Furthermore, the opinion on what should be “dress coded” varies from classroom to classroom, as teachers have differing standards of what is distracting in their learning environment. Either way, students should not expect to be exempt from being dress coded if a certain teacher allows them to break it and another does not.
Students’ reactions to the dress code are quite varied, too. Sophomore Eva Solevad says, “When a teacher dress codes a girl, it interrupts the learning of the student for the benefit of the men learning.” She also added that, “I have never seen a guy get dress coded, the dress code is blaming women for the way that they look instead of teaching men to control how they look at women.”
Meanwhile, sophomore Collin Kauzlariz thinks, “It is unfair because the dress code is bashing on the girls more than the guys.” Many male students in the school agree with Kauzlariz’ comment on the matter. According to most female students, male students have less strict dress codes. Looking at the Camas dress code, 6 out of 11 codes of conduct are more catered towards female clothing.
There are some ways to ensure a dress code is more equitable for al students. Schools with a required uniform justify this choice by stating that uniforms lessen the difficulties between parents, teachers and students. Current World Issues and world history teacher Jeff Macke commented on the topic of uniforms with: “There’s something to be said for uniforms taking distraction and stress out of the equation; putting more focus on the learning and not what people are wearing.”
Still, even without uniforms, at CHS the dress code is to be followed by both students and faculty throughout the entire year. According to the Camas High School Dress Code Policy, the code is in place to “maintain a school wide focus on learning.” and that the code “helps to create an environment of respect and safety for all.”