Enforcing Dress Codes Vs. Masks

Credit: The Roaring Times

By Katie Logue ‘25

We’re all familiar with the beginning of the school year assembly, where our principal talks on and on about what is “appropriate” to wear at school. The assembly where we sit through the long list of what is “inappropriate” for girls and the short list for guys. Now, with masks, that adds another item to the dress code. Schools are more strict on what their students wear than if students should be required to wear masks.

Some schools, such as Wilcox County Schools, don’t mandate the students to wear masks, but they do have a required dress code for the school’s homecoming dance. The homecoming dance dress code for the school is as follows: All students should not wear shorts, jeans, t-shirts, flip flops, or slides. Male students must wear a suit or sports coat, dress shirt with tie, and dress pants. Female students must wear dresses without deep cuts or high slits, without see-through sheer, and if it has two pieces, they must not be larger than a two inch gap. Along with those regulations, female students must also submit a photo of the dress they plan to wear before the dance. Notice how they have to take a picture of the dress for homecoming, but they aren’t mandating that they have to wear masks?

Southern governors are also stating that parents say whether or not the student has to wear a mask, not the school. If that’s the case, why is it that when a parent sends their kid to school in an certain outfit, the school is the one who deems it appropriate or not?

If anything, schools should give a rough guideline of what they want the kids to wear, but the parents should have most of the input. After all, masks are protecting people, but what is protected by girls covering their shoulders? Parents are struggling to find  “appropriate” clothes for their kids because of the dress codes, and kids are stressed about getting dress-coded. 

Students are also missing class because of strict dress codes. They get called out and have to miss class, or even the whole school day. That’s not fair to the students who go to school with an outfit that a parent thinks is appropriate to get an education. The school cuts into that learning time to send a student home that isn’t doing any harm to the people around them.

School dress codes are important, but not important enough to prevent kids from getting the education they need. Schools should have some say, but not enough to override the parents decision on what their child can and can not wear, especially if the parents have the choice on whether or not their child will wear a mask to school.

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