Students discuss school’s dress code policy
A universal dress code policy created by FUSD is implemented in all Fremont schools. In these schools, students are not allowed to wear tank tops, short blouses exposing the midriff area, skirts/shorts/dresses that are above mid-thigh length, gang colors, and hats.
American High School abides by these rules, but some students find them unfair, seeing them as an attack on their freedom of expression. For example, staff members in AHS do not allow hats or hoodies to be worn inside school buildings.
“There’s nothing wrong with hats,” junior Rameel Farooqi said. “I realize you should take it off in class to show respect to your teacher, but there’s no excuse not to wear it outside of class.”
Including hats, the dress code policy prohibits promoting violence, which is why gang colors are banned from campus. Yet, American High School still allows students to purchase school beanies that are colored solid red and/or blue (gang colors).
“I think it’s dumb they don’t let you own personal beanies or hats, but if you buy one from American, it’s okay,” senior Angel Medina said. “I think it’s just for money.”
Medina, who wears school beanies during school hours, has been caught violating the dress code several times.
“I used to say it was for my religion,” Medina said. “I was trying to prove that it was okay for me to wear a beanie, but it got me into more trouble. They should allow headgear as long as it’s not distracting.”
The dress code policy may limit the freedom of expression for boys, but girls experience a bigger problem: dressing according to boys’ needs.
“I believe we are reinforcing [the dress code] in the wrong way and causing too big of a stress on exposed skin equals male distraction,” a junior from American said. “If school advisors gave me a good reason that does not in any way relate to ‘Boys will be boys. We can’t distract them. That exposed shoulder is a sign that your grades are going to drop,’ then I would gladly listen to them.”
Girls have heard the rule that skirts and dresses need to be a required length (past fingertips), but one student from American High School faced difficulties with staff members because her clothing was considered too “tight.”
“Once, I was wearing a pencil skirt that went well below my thighs and was only about three inches above my knees,” an anonymous source said. “[A staff member] said she never wanted to see it again at school because ‘now we have a problem, now we have a bunch of 16 year-old boys who won’t be able to focus on school.’ I was very close to going on a feminist rant about how sexist it is to punish girls because some boys can’t control themselves, and how false it is to assume that boys are unable to have any self-control.”
Instead of attempting to change the mentality of boys, school officials blame females for dressing too “provocatively” and purposefully distracting boys.
“Just because my length of clothing doesn’t go past my fingertips does not mean I am vying for male attention,” a junior from American said. “Should I be condemned for showing about two inches of midriff when I raise my hand? No. Listen to what we have to say. Sometimes dressing a certain way makes us more confident and makes us feel like we can take on the world.”
This concept of “girls dress for boys” currently dominates the dress code system at American and is the sole reason for school officials to deter girls from wearing outfits of their choice. Devils Lake High School in North Dakota recently banned tights and yoga pants because they were found to be “too distracting.”
“At schools we should wear whatever we prefer or feel comfortable in, as long as nothing inappropriate is showing,” junior Victoria Yuan said. “I don’t believe in any kind of dress code policy that is based on banning clothes that boys ‘find distracting,’ because it’s honestly so ridiculous to blame girls for being objectified by boys. We dress for ourselves, not for someone else.”
But junior Manal Almakky believes that girls should be aware of their environment when they dress.
“I feel that it’s better that girls follow the rules,” Almakky said. “Really short skirts are not school-appropriate; it’s too much exposure to your skin and it distracts people around you. A girl should be comfortable in what she’s wearing, but she should be aware of guys around her.”
While some of the student body believe the dress code policy is logical, some students call for a revision that is better suited towards the individual’s comfortableness.
“[By instituting this dress code,] you are telling us that we do not get a say to our own bodies, that our opinions do not and will not ever matter,” a junior said. “If we let the ‘that is distracting the boys’ go on, we will never have a country that is truly equal in all sense.”