Dress code to be held to a higher standard this year

This year, there’ve been a lot of dress code violations in just the first few weeks alone. Is this a coincidence, or is faculty more attentive this year?

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The 2019-20 school year is in session and faculty and administration have shown renewed vigilance in addressing dress code violations. Getting a jump start this year, on the first official full day of school, teachers and administration seized eight infractions of the dress code. 

Last year, the most notable dress code problem was that students seemed to get away with wearing a sweatshirt without a collared shirt underneath. This year, the hot topic on campus in regard to dress code vigilance is the cropped shirt. 

What defines a cropped shirt? The worldwide web describes it as a “shirt that doesn’t quite cover the stomach or midriff.” 

It’s understandable that at a college prep school with a sound reputation and consistent flow of visitors, the student body is expected to look presentable. But this year, it’s clear that the look-out for dress code violators seems to have increased.  

The Upper School dress code closet has a plethora of dope clothing choices.

Less than a month into school, there’s approximately one student getting dress coded a day. Many violators do deserve to be sent to the school’s “fashion closet,” a room in the main office with a wide variety of polos, button-downs, belts, shoes, and more, because they didn’t even attempt to follow the rules (e.g., wearing a t-shirt or athletic shorts). 

According to the student body, however, in some situations regarding the topic of the year, shirt length, the rules of the dress code itself and its overall fairness have felt somewhat arbitrary.

In assembly during the first week of school, Upper School Director Mr. Forrester announced that if a student raised his or her hands above their head or bent down and touched their toes, and they quote, “flashed their flesh,” then they would be labeled “out of dress code.”

Seems straight forward enough, right? But many students aren’t excited about this new rule and have a few concerns. 

1. Shirt length 

One issue students are discussing about the new rule is that they don’t walk around all day with their hands in the air, and so the dress code violation shouldn’t be determined by doing just that.

Further, the violators being dress coded for their shirt length are just the girls at current. Granted, shirts for females are cut different and a bit shorter in length, compared to a male’s polo, but there are cases of some boys wearing shirts that “flash the flesh” when they raise their arms, raising the question as to whether they, too, are out of dress code.  

2. The rules themselves

In the Upper School Dress Code, it states that shirts “must be of sufficient length to be tucked into pants, shorts, or a skirt.” Some shirts that “flash the flesh” when arms are raised can still be “tucked in”; notably, the dress code doesn’t state that the students must raise their arms to determine if they’re out of dress code. 

Are you in dress code?

Many button-downs and polos, for males, also show skin when a student raises their arms. Does that make their shirt a crop? 

Along the same lines, another touchy subject to address in the  dress code is that it states: “Sweatshirts may be plain or adorned with an appropriate college or Saint Stephen’s logo.”

However, every day students wear sweatshirts with big name brand logos, like “Vans” or “Champion.”  

As a result, some of the students being coded feel as though some items are implemented, while others, at times, are not.  

3. All for one and one for all

The last concern that most students have with this year’s rules is that if one person gets dress coded for a specific infraction, then everyone else breaking that specific rule should get dress coded, too.

No rule in a large population can be perfectly enforced, but it is the case that there are some students that “get away” with it, and some that don’t.

For example, if a student is sent to the closet for having too short of a skirt on dress-up day, then everyone else breaking this rule should deal with the consequences, too. Although it may be hard to catch everyone, there are a number of students that simply seem to pass under the radar of the dress code.

As a result of the heightened vigilance, some students have even gone out of their way to wear overly large polos to make a statement.  

Senior Averie Robinson said, “As far as dress code in general, [my] opinion is that if dress code isn’t going to be enforced for everyone, then it shouldn’t be enforced at all.” 

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