Cracking the Code: Battle’s Dress Code

Morgan Evanoff, Business Manager

The weather is getting warmer and clothing is getting shorter. Is this a dress code violation? Or self-expression? In this article, Battle freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors confess their issues with Battle’s dress code.

Many students here at Battle don’t realize that we have a dress code, but there is, in fact, one in place. Most Battle High School students that were interviewed for this piece absolutely did not agree with the dress code. These students viewed the dress code as a way their freedom is being taken from them. After being interviewed, some students were able to recognize why the dress code has been put in place. But there is a much bigger picture than restricting crop tops, booty shorts, sagging of pants, bandanas, shirts that over-expose one’s body, and clothing depicting or referencing drugs, alcohol, or illegal activities. The dress code is providing a skill to follow directions and guidelines much like employees in a work place would face.

Some Battle students don’t have an issue with being told how to dress. Sophomore Freeman Hickman said “I think the dress code was created to have people follow certain guidelines so nothing would happen like today. All I really have to say is the dress code was made for a reason. Just follow it.” Sophomore Angela Crowley supported Freeman’s view and said, “I really don’t care what the dress code says, I’m going to wear whatever I want. But I wouldn’t go so far to show off my body. Some people who are exposing so much of their bodies should really think about toning it down because there is a difference between self-expression and just showing off your body.” Angela and Freeman’s views on Battle’s dress code are very different from other Battle students.

Sophomore Zane Norton captures some of the anger directed towards the dress code in saying, “I feel like the dress code is stupid, it does not help anyone, it does not stop any one from dressing provocatively. The teachers don’t really seem to care, and sometimes people have nothing else to wear.” Clothing that has been deemed inappropriate could possibly be the only clothing that students have access to. Since most Battle students don’t have a job or car, getting clothes can be tough. Some students who don’t have a lot have to do what they can to keep clothes on their back while fitting in. Douglas Luster, sophomore, said “I think the dress code shouldn’t even be there, because the school doesn’t buy peoples clothing and it’s just not their place.” As a public school with students of all economic and cultural backgrounds, Douglas brings up an important point for Battle’s dress code.

Beyond freedom and monetary concerns, some students have found an issue with being told how to view their bodies. A junior student who wishes to remain anonymous said, “I can understand why the school has a dress code, I understand the skills that are being provided by following the guidelines, but who is to say what is inappropriate or not allowed in the school, for example, the rule of spaghetti straps. No one has fully explained why they are such a no-no, it seems like that is saying that we are trying to attract the opposite sex with our shoulders and backa��it’s ridiculous. I firmly believe a student should have the right to wear what they want as long as they are not causing harm to others.” The lack of rationale in Battle’s policy leave some questioning: what is the point in having students cover their shoulders? Some students may be more apt to follow the dress code if they are given a reason for the way they are required to dress.

Students were asked to speculate as to the reasoning of a dress code. Students for and against the code had difficulties coming up with an answer. Some identified teaching rule following while some thought the school is stopping students from dressing “suggestively.” Douglas Lester said, “I guess the dress code was created because people were just [taking] self-expression too far.”

As Battle moves into its last month before summer vacation, it’s important to keep the dress code in mind. A school dress code helps students develop a vital skill: following guidelines. Students will use this skill in the work force and in life after they leave Battle. High school may not be a work place, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a professional environment. Battle is doing its best to set students up to be a young adult in a rapidly changing society, where people often miss out on job opportunities because of what they wear.