Nearly all schools that don’t have uniforms have dress codes, including our very own Lincoln High School. Some of our rules have sparked irritation and complaints from students concerning rules that seem unnecessary and questionable.
A few types of clothing that go against the dress code include “tank tops” and “clothing disruptive to the educational process,” according to the Gahanna-Jefferson dress code.
The issue is easy to see, as countless items of clothing are banned.
The best example is tank tops, which only show the tops of shoulders. These items are on the lists because they are deemed suggestive and inappropriate.
However, most students do not understand just how shoulders are inappropriate.
The big sticking point on the list, however, is that “clothing that is disruptive to the educational process.”
This clause is subjective to each person’s perspective. One administrator may deem a mid-thigh length skirt inappropriate, while another may consider it acceptable. In a similar way, the definition of what is deemed distracting is vague.
Does “distracting” refer to the wearer, others in their class, or their teacher?
If a girl wears a shoulderless shirt, and a boy who sits behind her in class is distracted or attracted to her, that is his issue, not hers. She should not have to leave class or even be sent home because of another’s unwanted attention.
This brings up another issue dress code: the punishment. The GLHS rule handbook states “students violating dress code may be sent home or asked for clothes to be brought in.”
However, students may be unable to leave and their guardians may be unable to bring in clothes.
Clothing should never be reason for the deterring of a student’s education, and by making the punishment so severe for such ambiguous rules, administration damages its own authority.
If Gahanna were to rectify these rules, rather than remove them, it would be best to remove ambiguity and make way for greater nuances in the rules.