Students' reaction to that viral school dress code video is perfect
Remember earlier this month, when we all were talking about the students at Natrona County School District? If not, here’s a little refresher: They decided to rally together and all disobey the school’s new dress code on their first day back to school after the school board announced a much stricter dress code rolling in for the new school year. “In an effort to foster a culture in our schools where the focus is on learning, the Notrona County School District adopted a new policy regarding the dress code,” said the video, illustrating “what to wear” and “what not to wear.” (Hint: the “what not to wear” included halter tops, spaghetti straps, low cut tops and undergarments, and short shorts).
Notrona County student Tricity Guerra created a Facebook page entitled “Defiance against dress code” in protest of the new rules. “Sending me home is going to take away a lot more of my education than wearing a tank top,” wrote one student.
“The only [reason] I am against this is because I feel extremely degraded,” wrote another. “I’m sick of my and every other woman’s body being sexualized to the point that we can’t even show our SHOULDERS.”
Well, it’s a little over one week away from their first day, and the story has evolved in a truly amazing way. On Monday, during a school board meeting, students proposed an alternative dress code that sounds very reasonable — much more so than what the video had proposed. “As a general rule, all clothing items must cover the four Bs, which are breasts, belly, back and buttocks,” Natrona County High School senior Jordan Yates said at the meeting, according to K2Radio. “We felt that was a pretty fair standard, and teachers (we talked to) felt that was pretty appropriate for school.”
The students agreed with the original dress code in some regards — no slippers, pajamas, or clothing that promotes racism, homophobia, drugs, alcohol, or any sort of vulgarity — but highlighted a problem with the original dress code that had to do with the school’s treatment of the issue. Administrators are to resolve any dress code issues during non-class periods, according to the students’ proposal. “A student’s education is worth more than their adherence to the dress code,” Yates said.
A total of 16 people spoke during the public comment section of the meeting, with the majority opposing the school’s new code, and several supporting the students’ new proposal. According to K2Radio, some said tank tops should be allowed, especially because the air conditioning doesn’t work well in some buildings. Others said that the code will detract from their self-expression; one male student even explicitly said the idea of him being distracted from learning because of a girl’s shoulders is “ridiculous.”
Guerra, who founded the Facebook page, even brought in the law, citing Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, which ruled in favor of students who wore black armbands to protest the war in Vietnam on the grounds of First Amendment rights.
Though Board Chairman Dave Applegate appreciated the students speaking up, he and the rest of the board explained that no changes will be made at the end of the meeting. . . but that change is possible. “We could open that policy back up,” he said, according to K2Radio.
It’s difficult to strike boundaries as to what students can and can’t wear. Of course, there’s a line to be drawn, but in this case, it’s been taken too far. To ban students from wearing tank tops in the summer on the grounds of “fostering a culture of learning” is to sexualize children — 100% not OK. We sincerely hope that the board listens to the students’ reaction, because no matter what the outcome is, their response is absolutely perfect.
(Image via YouTube.)