why do schools have a dress code
Clothing as a primary means for expressing ideas for students is as primitive as clothing itself, yet schools across the country often grapple with whether to enforce strict dress code policies that may interfere with a studentsв right to self-expression. While school boards are generally allowed to create and enforce dress code programs within their districts, they must do so without violating the constitutional rights of students. School Dress Code Laws The first school dress code law was established in 1969 by the U. S. Supreme Court. The case, known as, involved several high school students who wore black armbands to school in a planned protest against the Vietnam War. In a far-reaching decision, the Court essentially decided that schools may limit student expression (such as enforcing dress codes) if there is a legitimate concern that such expression will be disruptive to the learning environment or violate the rights of others. Today, most states have laws that allow school boards to make dress code rules for students within their district to promote a safe, disciplined school environment, prevent interference with schoolwork and discipline, and to encourage uniformity of student dress. For instance, dress codes that prohibit clothing that is vulgar, obscene or worn in a manner that disrupts school activity are generally permitted в whereas dress codes that censor student expression because educators do not like the message are generally not permitted. Dress Code Policies vs. Freedom of Speech
Not all speech is protected in a school setting. For example, students who wear clothing that follows the latest fashion trend в such as oversized shirts and slouchy jeans for boys, or short skirts and mid-drift cut-out shirts on girls в or clothing that supports a particular sports team, religion, or political point of view, may be prohibited in dress code policies if the studentвs choice in clothing draws attention away from the schoolвs learning environment.
Therefore, limits on dress codes have including the following: Limits on вgang-relatedв clothing, sometimes described as over-sized clothing and other clothing meant to show affiliation with a certain gang or group, such as certain colors, logos, brand names, or arrangement Ban on suggestively-themed T-shirts, such as Marilyn Manson t-shirts Limits on skirt, shirt, and pant length Ban on clothing that depicts lewd, sexually explicit, or idecent drug use Seasonal closthing restriction, such as limits on midriffs and lower backs not being exposed in hot weather Freedom of Religion Issues In contrast to limits on dress as a means to providing a safe learning environment, school dress codes, in most cases, cannot be used to prevent students from expressing their religion beliefs. Both the Constitution and most state laws protect studentsв rights to wear religious attire inool school, such as the wearing of a turban, yarmulke, or head scarf. What Schools Can Do Generally, schools have the right to create rules that provide an effective public school education for its students. Both students and staff of primary, elementary, junior and senior high school campuses have the right to be safe and secure in their persons. This means that school may include in their dress codes methods which further the goals of a learning institution and that prevents violent or abusive behavior. What You Can Do Students and parents should obtain a copy of your schoolвs dress code policy to get an understanding of what may or may not be acceptable clothing at school. For questions concerning whether the policy infringes on your constitutional rights, you may wish to consult with an education attorney in your area who can advise you of the laws in your state.
Dress codes in schools began as early as the 1950s and 60s when schools were on a campaign to curb juvenile delinquency. School districts decided that having rules for the type of clothing worn are useful for having boundaries all can follow, but unless your heart is convinced, youБll be miserable as you reluctantly obey the rules. It is sad that all manners (including dress) have declined to the point that they must now be legislated, but at least legislating such behaviors will instill better habits. A lot of high school students feel that school dress codes are stupid. Many students have expressed their unhappiness at the thought of a school dress code. I think they imagine themselves wearing military garb and being forced to salute. It's not like that at all. Yes, there are military-type schools and some programs such as ROTC that require uniforms, but this article is about whether having a "uniform" look to the school and attire is the best choice or not. Arguments for Uniforms Uniform clothing rules are supposed to reduce violence and bullying by taking style differences out of the equation, according to the National Association of Elementary School Principals. Since the Clinton administration, the Education Department has encouraged schools to go further by adopting uniforms, saying they promote safety and discipline Dress code rules for high school students also prevent them from wearing gang colors to campus. A unified look is a good rule for many reasons that kids would not realize unless they were responsible for purchasing and maintaining their own wardrobe. They are provided (either free or at a small cost, everything else like tuition and books etc is free) or the parents can choose to follow the general guidelines. Some districts are more lenient but they're all pretty much the same.
Children need rules and guidance. Philadelphia School Board President Camino Hawing said the district is working on getting Hispanic parents more involved with the schools. And he said that the district hopes the parents will network and convince others to show up at various district meetings. One of our principals has tried for several years to make uniforms mandatory but enough of the parents have protested and kept the issue from being passed. In May 2000, the Philadelphia School Board approved a mandatory school uniform policy for all students. Each school in the district will decide individually on the dress policy for its school. In the Springfield, MO, some boys reported that looking БgangstaБ is where itБs at Б and the girls seem to love that Бhootchie mama hoБ look. A Springfield Police Department representative made a brief Powerpoint presentation on the presence of gang-related activity in schools. Identification, resulting in intervention, was the main theme of his talk. The argument for uniforms would make it easier to identify those students that belonged at that school and those that were illegally there. Many gang members will not wear uniforms and sneak in the back doors to try to start trouble or get other students to join them. This problem is not just in the cities but is spilling out in rural areas, for some time. I taught in a school district that was populated with many students that had moved away from inner city problems and gang activity. It was apparent that the gangs had moved out into the suburbs and gangs were roaming the hallways of the high school and middle school where I taught. The violence hand gang symbols were appearing more frequently. I finally decided to leave teaching when gang members tried pushing me down the stairs.
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