Task Force: Dress Code is Schools
You have just been hired as the Vice Principal of your local public high school. This year, you and the other members of the administration have decided to review the dress code policy and draft new guidelines for students.
Why Are We Doing This?
When we think of dress codes, the main things that come to mind are often rules regarding how “revealing” clothes can/can’t be. While these are important considerations, so are things like mask mandates, hate speech and other offensive language, political messages, as well as clothing that affirms gender, religious, and cultural identities. School administrators must make policies that keep students safe, follow state and national laws, and do not violate the rights or dignity of students.
- Research some common dress code policies at public schools in the US. Also, research some past and current debates/controversies about dress codes. Think about which policies you agree with and which sides of the debates you would side with.
- Also, do you know your own school’s dress code? What aspects do you agree and disagree with?
- Now, craft your dress code policy. Consider the following questions:
- What will students NOT be allowed to wear? (Any text/language that will be banned? Logos/brands? What about costumes?)
- What will students be REQUIRED to wear? (Masks? Shoes?)
- What do you want to make clear about what will be allowed? (i.e. do you want to create a policy that’s gender-inclusive? Culturally-inclusive? What else might you want to explicitly state? Are there any accommodations for students with special needs?)
- Think through the possible objections to your policy. Particularly, think about who might object to your dress code and how you might respond to them.
- Share with the group and see if you can convince them that your policy will work.
Things to Keep in Mind:
- You do not have to come up with an exhaustive policy. It’s better to come up with a few ideas that you feel confident with and spend time thinking through possible objections to them.
- You don’t have to worry about answering all possible objections, but you should have some defense of why you think your policy is best.
- Your suggestions should be things that schools could realistically implement.