Before we forget, let’s remember that the SEMHS dress code is still not as strict as the dress codes at other schools. Luis Polino doesn’t take our dress code for granted, saying “I love how we are given the option to dress comfortably instead of wearing some sort of uniform.” Some of our teachers have also shared their input on some of the issues of the dress code. Mr. Healy believes, “Our dress code is fine. It just needs to be enforced.” This idea of poor dress code enforcement is expanded on by Ms. Rangel: “Male violators are given a free pass, while girls are held accountable.”
Although dress codes can sometimes be sexist and poorly enforced, it is still important to follow the code in school environments. The dress code was put in place to protect students. For example, part of the dress code states that shorts and skirts should not reveal skin or undergarments when bending over. While this rule brings up the debate of the sexualization of young girls, the purpose of this rule is to protect the wearer from feeling embarrassed or exposed if a wardrobe malfunction is unintentional. “It’s good that people don’t reveal too much skin,” states Eva Ahumada.
Some girls fight for freedom to wear spaghetti straps or off-the-shoulder tops because of the heat. Recently, there have been issues of other students pulling girls’ tops down without their consent to expose their chest. This harassment is another reason for the dress code policy.
The school’s dress code also requires clothing to be free of vulgar language and sexually explicit material. This is to respect parents of students who do not allow inappropriate language or media in their home. Some people forget that we are still underage high school students who technically, by law, should not be exposed to explicit content as minors.
Finally, flip flops are not allowed to be worn on campus. Jennyfer Mora says, “Many girls would wear sandals and I would sometimes accidentally step on their feet when there’s a huge crowd. I know that would be painful.” Dozens of people that wear flip flops to school everyday are putting their toes in danger. Some people choose to wear heavy shoes or boots which could severely injure someone’s toes.
Overall, there are several pros to a dress code even if some people can’t see it. We as students must be protected from harm and harassment at school. A school dress code is great practice for adult life. If you work in a professional environment, you wouldn’t show up to work in a low-cut, backless, skintight dress. You wouldn’t go to church in your pajamas. Students represent the school as a whole. The way we present ourselves reflects on the administration and staff our school, school district, city, state, country, etc. Dress codes teach respect for yourself and the organizations you represent.
School dress codes can be reasonable, but some can be ridiculous and unfair. Here at South El Monte High there is an unfair dress code. Female Students are not allowed to wear spaghetti straps, off the shoulder shirts, low-cut tops, and etc. On August 18th, SEMHS had the Blue and Gold rally, and the school’s dress code was not enforced on guys or cheerleaders. The male students were shirtless and had paint yellow paint on their chest, but the girls couldn’t. Everyday female students get in trouble for not following dress code, yet guys can walk around shirtless without being told a thing.
The cheerleader’s uniform skirts do not appear to follow the dress code, but are acceptable. Yet regular female students get in trouble for wearing skirts that cover more, than the cheerleader’s skirts. In the dress code it states that skirts should cover the posterior. The dress code says females can not wear spaghetti straps or off the shoulder tops, but these style of tops don't seem bad. The dress code also states that clothes can't be sexually suggestive, yet these tops don't seem to fall in that category. There's nothing wrong with a female letting her shoulders show, it is not vulgar or sexually suggestive. These dress codes can make most female students feel sexualized, and the need to cover up to not “distract” male students. Shoulders are not in any way sexually suggestive. Girls should be able to dress however they want, because it allows them to feel comfortable with themselves.
Due to the dress code girls feel like they’re doing something wrong, because of what they wear. Female students are not doing anything wrong, or harming anymore with the way the dress. The way students dress won’t stop or get in the way of their education. If a girl wears something that’s too revealing then they should be able to wear because it’s them that is wearing it not someone else. Girls shouldn’t be unpermitted to wear something they like, they should be able to wear what they like. This can help build a girl’s confidence, instead of making her feel sexualized.
Dress codes are sexist, and are frustrating to female students. A dress code can be a distraction itself. For example, if a teacher stops in the middle of a lesson just to enforce the code they’re interrupting the student’s education. So this is also a problem with a dress code. One last problem with dress codes is that it can get rid of a student’s way to creatively express themselves.