Different Views of the Dress Code

Different Views of the Dress Code

Claire Houser and Katelyn Styborski

The dress code is a concept exercised in all schools in the Southwest Allen County Schools district. Rules like “no hats” and “no exposed shoulders” are all fairly common knowledge. But of course, students, administrators and teachers have their own opinions on these rules.

Administrators find the dress code necessary for focus in the classroom and success in the future. Assistant Principal Jennifer Bay stressed the importance of dressing professionally. She said that adhering to the dress code is a “valuable life lesson that will help students in a variety of future endeavors, such as job and scholarship interviews, striving for promotions, and creating positive impressions when dealing with clients, customers, and colleagues.”

Contrary to popular belief among students, she stated that “many responsibilities dictate appropriate attire and appearance. Clothing that is appropriate to wear at home and during activities outside of the school day is not always appropriate for someone who is going to class and focused on learning.” 

Homestead High School is a school, and its main purpose is to teach and prepare students for the real world. Bay believes that the dress code will achieve that purpose and that following the dress code is students’ best chance to succeed later in their lives.

Similar to administrators, teachers said that the dress code is a firm set of guidelines used to keep a focused, controlled learning environment. 

Trice said, “I think that a dress code requirement is necessary to ensure that the learning environment is free of personal distractions and reinforces professionalism and respect among students and teachers.” Trice claimed that all aspects of the dress code are “adequate and reasonable for an academic setting,” and having students follow the requirements does not seem to be a problem.


However, many students claim to have struggles with the dress code and have opposing viewpoints to teachers and staff. Brayla Flottemesch(12) points out that “a lot of students are different heights and that can change the way clothes fit on our bodies drastically.” 

A common inconvenience students may have is making things work with what’s in their wardrobe. Salem Lewis (12) has found that the majority of his wardrobe is made up of sleeveless shirts. He believes that “everyone should be able to wear what they’re comfortable with so long as it isn’t hurting anyone.”

Lewis continued, claiming that “[no one] I know is distracted by shoulders. It’s just skin.” In addition to this, he expressed frustration with the concept of dressing professionally: “High school is often a time of self-discovery for many students, myself included. Students should feel free to experiment with their expression freely. The way someone dresses or presents themselves does not determine their ability.” 

Students also have suggestions and ideas of how SACS might change the dress code to be easier to follow while still within the lines of reason. Katherine Hileman (11) mentions that some of her outfits only break the dress code if she sits or is in a very specific position, but it is otherwise fine. She says, “Certain rules should have some clarification. Why should a shirt be against the dress code when it only violates it at a certain position?”

The punishments that students receive for violating the dress code are a source of controversy for students. Hileman said that “the process of punishments should not be so severe.” She claimed that one simple dress code violation, such as showing your midriff or wearing skirts or shorts that are too short, can land you in detention. Hileman followed this up with the knowledge that she “can’t get into the National Honors Society at Homestead” with a detention record. Detention history is shared with the colleges that a student applies to, making it hard to clear their student record.

Hileman asked, “Why should I be denied entry from the NHS or a college because I unknowingly violated the dress code?”


There are still steps that need to be taken to make Homestead’s dress code the best it can be– for students and for teachers. Until then, everyone must continue to support those who feel they have been disadvantaged by the dress code, but they also must respect those who put those rules in place. After all, Homestead administrators and teachers have students’ best interests in mind. Whether one agrees or disagrees, they must make sure they approach this topic with understanding and respect.