School Dress Code: Is it helping or hurting students?


You decide as you run out the door that you just want to be casual, so you throw on some leggings and a top. As you arrive at school you are faced with not your peers staring at you but the eyes of the administrators. Their glances are making you feel uncomfortable and like you’re doing something wrong. You think to yourself; what are they staring at?

Student Opinion:

School dress codes have been official since 1969 when the U.S. Supreme Court approved them. With each school having numerous rules on what students can and can’t wear, many students are uncomfortable with these rules. Today 43% of elementary schools, 62% of middle schools and 56% of high schools enforce their students to follow what they deem appropriate dress code rules. Calvert County’s Code of Conduct states, “And a ban on tight or suggestive clothing”. With children as young as 5 in school systems, what is considered suggestive clothing?

This is what the students of Huntingtown High School have to say about the dress code.

Junior Bridget Buck had a lot to say about how she feels the dress code is not only unfair but suggests that girls are the issue. She knew firsthand the struggle of being dress-coded and offered to share her encounter with us. “In the sixth grade I was going on a field trip where I would be outside all day, so I showed up to school in athletic shorts. That is when I was confronted by my teacher about my shorts being too short. I was sent to the office in tears because I felt I had done something terrible. At the time it seemed like a much bigger deal because I was only 12 and had never been looked at like that before. So, for a long time after I was insecure about what I wore to school. Looking back on it I know I wasn’t the problem; it was those who looked at me in those ways, but it was a very eye-opening experience.”

Typically, most students would say the dress code at HHS applies to girls more than boys, so we interviewed sophomores Thomas Hoover and Braeden Sawyer to get a boy’s point of view. When asked if they thought the dress code targets girls more than boys, they responded “I think girls get more targeted than boys mostly because they wear more revealing clothes than boys would, and teachers and administrators are more looking for girls and what they’re wearing.” Additionally, they both mutually agreed they do not find any of the clothes the girls are wearing distracting. Thomas answered, “No the clothes girls wear aren’t distracting, it’s not something I would be looking at either way.” When they were asked why they think the staff care so much about the dress code, Braeden responded, “I think they care a lot because they see it as distracting. They grew up in a different time period when people didn’t dress super revealing, but the times have changed.” Freshman Andrew Lieux had a similar response, stating that girls’ outfits don’t bother him because he wants everyone to be able to wear what makes them feel confident. He expressed that he doesn’t think the current dress code is equal, giving an example of how boys are allowed to wear tank tops and girls are told not to because it is described as revealing.


And Now, Our Staff’s Opinion

What do staff have to say about the wardrobes of students at Huntingtown High? Do they find them distracting or is this just their job?


To get a better perspective on how the staff views the dress code, the sophomore vice principal here at Huntingtown, Ms. Gray, responded to the question of whether the school writes its own rules or if it is something done by the Board of Education.  To this, she answered “The Board does so it is all the same across the county. Each year they revamp it as the trends and styles change.” Throughout this interview, Ms. Gray stressed that she understands that styles change, however it is important to know what is and is not appropriate to wear to school. Mrs. Gray also shared her personal experience with having to dress code people and how it makes her feel, sharing,” I don’t want the first thing I say to someone to be “take your hat off.” I like to greet people as I see them, so I would much rather it be a “good morning” or “how are you.” Students often feel like the administration or teachers are after them, but it is just them doing their job most of the time.

A former Huntingtown High alumnus, Mrs. Yurchick, a geometry teacher here at Huntingtown, had a lot to say about the current dress code. She said to us “Huntingtown dress code isn’t enforced as much as it should be,” and she believes there should be stricter regulations. Furthermore, we asked for her opinion on whether she believes the dress code is stricter for girls or guys and her response was “guys aren’t usually the ones wearing that style of clothing/fashion, where it is much more revealing for girls.” She also stated, “it makes me feel uncomfortable when people wear those types of things.” “Male teachers often don’t dress code girls because of what will be said about them and that it also makes them uncomfortable,” she answered when asked if she thinks that the clothing that girls wear makes male teachers uncomfortable. She also added that more dress code sweeps should be implemented, “More dress code sweeps should happen once a week randomly, it would make me more comfortable sending people down if it happened more often.”


In past years students have always found the dress code to be objectifying, however this year it feels as it has been magnified. After talking to both staff and students about the dress code policies here in Calvert County, both groups can agree that being told to cover up or having to tell someone to cover up is an uncomfortable situation. There isn’t one answer to say what should be done about the dress code. Whether it should be more or less enforced is a question for each individual to decide upon for themselves.