Middle School Dress Code Causes Problems

Middle School Dress Code Causes Problems

Kelsey Whittier

There has been a great uproar over the new clothing restrictions implemented at the Walpole Middle Schools this year. Angry middle-schoolers have posted statuses, tweeted, and texted about the “unfairness” of these new rules. The students, predominately the girls, are now unable to freely express themselves through fashion.

According to an anonymous student, “They banned yoga pants, low rise jeans, skinny jeans, v-neck shirts, northfaces, tanktops, tight shirts, and slip-on-slippers.” While it is common decency to not wear a crop top and daisy dukes to school, is it fair to ban a large portion of the students’ wardrobe?

There is no reason the students should have to adhere to such harsh limitations. Through self-expression—namely fashion—children learn how to be unique and innovative. Without this ability they lose critical development as adolescents.

Johnson Middle School’s dress code’s vagueness allows for considerable digression to impose any constraints the school administration deems as inappropriate. Although the School Policy Manual clearly states that “the responsibility for the dress and appearance of the students will rest with individual students and parents,” it appears that this obligation has been predominated by the administration.

The new limitations established at the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year were meant to set a precedent for the students to not abuse their freedom to wear what they want. A Johnson Middle School student said, “People abused having the freedom to wear those things, but they should have just told those certain people not to do it.” The students believe in selective punishment rather than absolute deprivation for each and every student.

Instead of starting off the year right off the bat with this dress code the principals decided to impose it after everyone had already updated their wardrobe. Clearly feeling unfairly restrained, a student said, “They told us in the middle of the term that we couldn’t wear those clothes after everyone had already gone back to school shopping and bought all the items they can no longer wear.”

It is clear to see how the students would feel debilitated by these bans; who is to judge how tight or low is unacceptable? The administration should not have the right to inflict morals or virtues upon the children; they must learn on their own.

Their intentions may have been good, but in the long run these prohibitions only anger the students; they should have found a way to inflict decency in appearance upon the student’s through education, not punishment. That way they would be able to learn and improve themselves permanently rather than compliance as a result of coercion.