Opinion: Dress Code at Morgan is Unfair- Here’s Why

Sophomore Caroline King Speaks Up

writer Caroline King
Writer Caroline King (Caroline King )

As a female student in The Morgan School, I find the school’s dress code unfair to female students for many reasons. There are rules in the Morgan dress code that only directly affect females.

The Morgan Dress Code follows as such:
“In order to maintain an environment conducive to the educational process, The Morgan School prohibits the following garments from wear during the academic school day.” This may sound reasonable; however, what follows this statement is where many female students at Morgan, including myself, find a problem. The first three rules of the dress code prohibit the following:
“Shirts and/or blouses which reveal the abdomen, chest, or undergarments. “
“Shorts, miniskirts, or pants which reveal the upper thigh or undergarments. “
“See-through clothing, tube tops or ‘spaghetti strap’ tops or clothing designed as sleepwear.” (page 19 The Morgan School Student Handbook)

Students breaking the dress code: showing midriff

The clothing items that are forbidden by the Morgan dress code are very commonly worn by female students. Many girls enjoy wearing crop tops, shorts, and spaghetti strap tops. However, crop tops reveal the abdomen; most shorts that are popular show the upper thigh, and spaghetti straps reveal the shoulders. At this point, I believe it is appropriate to ask the question: why does the school care if we are showing our stomachs, upper thigh, or shoulders? Some may say it is inappropriate for students to wear such attire. Even so, why is this considered inappropriate? Why are our bodies deemed inappropriate? We are both children and young girls. These rules in the dress code imply that our bodies are inherently sexual. Now, that in itself is what is inappropriate. When the administration dress codes a student for having an exposed midriff, wearing spaghetti straps, or violating any of the first three rules of the dress code, they focus away from learning and shift their focus to student’s bodies.

Another common argument about the dress code is that the articles of clothing prohibited in the dress code are “distracting.” This is implied by the Morgan dress code since it states that it is enforced to produce an “environment conducive to the educational process.” There are many issues with this statement. The biggest being that it implies that female students just existing, wearing clothes that are trendy and fashionable, are a distraction. This is also offensive to male students, implying that they would not have the ability to focus on learning if perhaps a girl in their class was wearing spaghetti straps or a crop top. The female body should not be considered an inconvenience to the learning environment.

Since male students do not commonly wear crop tops, short shorts, skirts, or spaghetti strap tank tops, they do not deal with or have to worry about the dress code nearly as much as female students. The fact that the first three rules of the Morgan dress code are directed towards females and almost only affect female students is sexist. According to the ACLU, “schools cannot enforce dress codes in ways that discriminate against people for who they are. Students, your body is not a problem.”

Additionally, the Morgan dress code is not followed with consistency. From my point of view, most days, no one is dress-coded even if they are violating the dress code. As the weather gets warmer, dress code starts to become a problem. Even on warmer days, where crop tops and shorter shorts are common, one or two girls are dress coded and others wearing similar outfits are somehow safe. This is another example of why the dress code is unfair. It is impossible, tedious, and a waste of time for the administration to dress code every girl violating the dress code. The girls that are then dress-coded are being singled out.

For these reasons, I and many of my peers believe the dress code is unfair and

Students breaking the dress code: tank tops

wrong. We are no longer in a time when these types of rules shouldn’t be questioned. As a community and as a school, we should take the time to realize that a body is a body, and everyone has one. Girls should be allowed to wear what they feel comfortable and confident in without the fear of being sexualized by administrators, peers, and the dress code. I have had many discussions with teachers about this in the past, and have only been told to be quiet and obey the rules. I’ve heard many times before that there are just rules that I will have to put up with in life, even if I don’t like them.

While that is true, when there are sexist, unfair rules and only impact a certain group of people negatively, I will not stand for it and neither will the people who feel the same way. As a Morgan student, I feel it is only right to speak up when something is wrong.