Opinion: what is ‘inappropriate’?

“Do you really think that’s school appropriate?”  Actually, yes. Many students are complaining about the dress code and how administrators are enforcing it this year. This stricter implementation leaves students feeling degraded and self-conscious about their bodies. Everyone’s body is different and no single dress code can address everyone equally.

We have an issue with not only the rude comments from administrators, but also the lack of consistency with dress code enforcement. If not all administrators are following the same guidelines; it is unfair to the students who encounter more lenient administrators. Many want respectful and appropriate dress, but when every student has a different idea of what this means, how is there a uniform standard? Students are fighting for their individuality, but they do not want to be individually called out and embarrassed.

At a dress code meeting, International Academy Dean Fulton Vinson said that students should not feel embarrassed when they are called out, because they chose to wear inappropriate clothes in the first place. However, this is similar to saying bullied students should not feel victimized because they chose the way they behaved.

The debate continues as to whether or not the current dress code at TC is too strict. Students are split over whether students need more freedom to express their individuality through clothing or whether they have already gone too far.

The administration should be more respectful when addressing students’ attire to avoid hurt feelings and embarrassment. We also believe that the administration as a whole should agree on a dress code before enforcing it. The ever-changing rules they are sporadically enforcing are unreasonable, not to mention not even in writing.

Having an administrator disrupt class to address inappropriate clothing is considered an “unwelcome interruption” said Psychology Teacher Stephen Miarer. When administrators interrupt valuable class time just to lecture about the dress code, it upsets more than just the students.  Since we start school later in the year than everyone else in the region, teachers need as much time as possible in class to cover material before the AP exams in May and to prepare for finals. The more time taken to talk about the dress code, the less time there is to learn material.

Some of the staff thinks that even though the dress code is necessary, some efforts taken to enforce it have become extreme. “The policies assume that guys can’t control themselves, and that is offensive,” said an anonymous teacher said this. Another staff member anonymously said, “it is not for me to comment on what girls are wearing.” There is no need to call out students in unobtrusive manner, especially for “rules” not written in the student handbook.

The student hand books states that “the wearing of clothing that is unduly revealing, which includes exposing the chest, midriff, back, or undergarments,” It says nothing about showing too much leg or wearing too short shorts. Furthermore, disrupting valuable class time by individually picking out individual students and pulling them out of instructional time is neither effective nor productive.

We are all young adults and we should be mature enough to dress respectably so we don’t distract those around us. That being said, if we are dressed inappropriately the administration should treat us as such, addressing us respectfully and providing consequences that do not involve taking away instructional time from the learning day.


Meredith Poe, Hannah Brockway & JP McLaughlin contributed to this article.