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Dress code changes made across the Bay Area

Anumita Jain, Managing Web Editor

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As students around the Bay Area demand change in relatively conservative dress code policies, school administration have begun to understand that current dress codes may be out of date and unreflective of current fashion standards.

One of those schools, Monte Vista High School in Danville, California, has recently begun an initiative to reform its dress code.

Principal Dr. Kevin Ahern states, “Early in the year, I received an email from a concerned student who expressed a need to update our dress code to better reflect the types of clothing that students are wearing today and to express a concern about how dress code was being enforced on campus. Dress code was an annual discussion at my former school as it allowed students and faculty to talk about what is acceptable to wear at school. I was hoping to foster a
similar conversation at Monte Vista.”

Similarly to Monte Vista, numerous students have complained in the past about Dougherty’s dress code, particularly females. When asked why Dougherty’s dress code could have appeared to target female students more than males, Assistant Principal Kim Vaiana said, “I know it appears that there are more rules regarding girls, and part of that is just because I think the variety of clothing for girls has a bigger spectrum. Other than that, I think the actual clothing is why there’s a difference between men and women.”

Unlike Vaiana, Ahern believes the plethora of rules regarding females in Monte Vista’s dress code are unfair.

“Probably the biggest change is our effort to make the dress code gender neutral. Apart from the elements of the code dealing directly with school safety, drugs, alcohol etc. 80 percent of
the dress code is directed at females. The policy draft begins with a statement that applies the dress code to all genders.”

While Monte Vista agrees that a major dress code reform is necessary, Dougherty is still
standing by its current dress code.

While talking about why a dress code is needed, Vaiana says, “Part of that falls under ed code — the laws that are set up in the whole nation, not just California — and with that understanding is that dress code issues generally exist because we’re trying to keep this a learning environment.”

That doesn’t mean that Dougherty has never made minor changes in the past, however. “The
dress code has been changed to fit current standards. For example, spaghetti straps used to be prohibited for girls before the administration reformed the dress code after realizing that a lot of tops for girls had spaghetti straps.” Other changes include the removal of the rules that prohibited tank tops for boys, asked that t-shirts be of reasonable size and length, and demanded that shorts and skirts reach the length of the fingertips for girls. Numerous students have complained in the past about Dougherty’s dress code, particularly females. When asked why Dougherty’s dress code could have appeared to target female students more than males, Vaiana said, “I know it appears that there are more rules regarding girls, and part of that is just because I think the variety of clothing for girls has a bigger spectrum. Other than that, I think the actual clothing is why there’s a difference between men and women.”

Although it has been established that dress codes have proven to have both benefits and detriments, most people can agree that certain changes are needed in order to ensure a safe and fair dress code. As Dr. Ahern says, “Ultimately, this dialogue is about student empowerment.”

 

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The official student news site of Dougherty Valley High School.
Dress code changes made across the Bay Area