Society

Dress-Code Suspensions Ensure Equal Treatment

| by Shani Shahmoon

While dress codes may prevent you from dressing up in accordance with what's popular and trendy, they serve a purpose and should be left in place and enforced.

Dress code rules exist to secure quality of education. And breaking those rules, like all rules, comes with consequences.

On May 2, over 150 students from Wilby High School in Connecticut were suspended over dress code violations. In order to ensure that there were no discriminating punishments, all students received an equal penalty, ABC News reported.

The school district in which this incident took place was already facing scrutiny for its lack of minority teachers, where the majority of its students were Hispanic or black. As such, equality was probably at the top of the administration's agenda when they watched over a hundred students walk the halls in clothes that blatantly disregarded the clear dress code policy.

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The Wilby High dress code requires boys to wear black or green shirts. Girls are required to wear navy blue, black, gray or khaki-colored bottoms. Hats, caps and hoodies are forbidden..

On the day of the suspension, students came to school dressed in banned colors, wore hoodies and broke other aspects of the dress code.

As a result, Wilby High's faculty and administration faced three options.

They could have ignored the hundred-something students walking the halls, blatantly breaking the rules, but that would have completely disregarded the school's attempt to create an atmosphere that ensures equal opportunity for quality education, regardless of economic status, gender, etc. As such, in the future, they will hear hundreds of students argue that if one student can break rules, the rest can. 

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Alternatively, they could have suspended those who wore the most "inappropriate" clothing. Such a penalty, though, would be subjective and potentially discriminating. But then again, no one needs male faculty members telling female students that their shorts are distracting male students, while they let boys with saggy pants and profanity on their shirts walk away without repercussion.

Or, they could have simply suspended everyone who broke the dress code, ensuring that all involved received equal punishment, regardless of gender identity, sex, race, etc.

Unfortunately, the district office cleared the suspensions from students' records, WBNS reported. As a result, Wilbury High's attempt to create an equal playing field has been delegitimized.

Click here for the opposing view on this topic.

Sources: WBNS, ABC News / Photo credit: Karen Apricot/Flickr

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