School should be about learning, not what you wear. However, some clothes do inhibit proper learning. This is why dress code is so controversial. I strongly believe we should have a dress code. I wouldn’t even be opposed to uniforms. I think that people should come to school ready to learn, and dressed in ways that are not distracting. Even appropriate clothes can be distracting (if they are bright colors etc).
However, I realize that this is unreasonable. A dress code should outline what makes something inappropriate for school. Instead of becoming the bane of many high schoolers’ existence, a dress code should be a clear list of rules for what is reasonable school attire and what is not.
The problem is, styles constantly change, and so does what is appropriate. In the 1920s, women wearing pants would have been shocking, however now it is the norm. We should be updating the dress code far more frequently to abide by modern standards.
By having a highly unreasonable dress code, it opens the door for teachers and administrators to use their own discretion. This does the opposite of create a fair and safe learning environment. The other major problem with enforcement is the punishment for breaking the dress code. Students should never be asked to leave class for a dress code violation. There is no reason it can’t wait for an hour. Learning is the number one priority, and we must allow all students this right.
So, here is my updated dress code for Ventura Unified School District**. Some parts were fine as is, some were outdated, and some things needed to be added for clarity.
The following guidelines shall apply to all regular school activities, including dances.
If a student is out of dress code, they may be required to sit in the office until proper attire is provided by the parent or guardian. If a student is in violation of dress code, they can and will be asked to change their clothes during a break between classes. They will never be asked to leave class or go home for a dress code issue. The dress code will be enforced evenly between boys and girls. The intent of wearing the clothes does not matter. Even if someone is wearing an outfit for humorous purposes, the rules still apply to them.
- Shoes must be worn at all times outdoors.
- Clothing, jewelry, backpacks and binders shall be free of writing, pictures or any other insignia which are crude, vulgar, threatening, violent, profane or sexually suggestive or which advocate racial, ethnic or religious prejudice or the use of drugs or alcohol.
Hats, caps and other head coverings, including scarves and headbands, shall not be worn in the classroom.Head coverings may be allowed for religious reasons. Hats and caps not for religious purposes may only be worn indoors if they do not over the face, or block the face from clear view. Scarves and headbands are always acceptable. Mittens, and other items used for warmth are also reasonable.
- Clothes shall be sufficient to conceal undergarments at all times.
See-through or fish-net fabrics, halter tops, off-the-shoulder or low-cut tops, bare midriffs and skirts or shorts shorter than mid-thigh are prohibited.Skirts shorter than mid thigh and shorts shorter than two inches down your leg are prohibited. Tight skirts must be mid thigh. If tights are worn with the skirt, it may be an inch or two shorter than mid thigh. You should not be able to see your butt. See through or fish-net fabrics are okay as long as you cannot see undergarments. Halter tops, off-the-shoulder or low-cut tops are fine as long as you cannot see more than the straps of undergarments. Bare midriffs are not appropriate. This is enforced for both girls and boys. Hair shall be clean and neatly groomed.Hair may not be sprayed by any coloring that would drip when wet. Dress code for sports players is different than for everyday school. Players are allowed to wear spandex. They are also allowed to wear sports bras (girls) when practicing, or be shirtless (guys). However, this is at the discretion of the coach, who can decide if they want more modest clothes. This is necessary to ensure safety and to ensure our teams remain respected and dignified. Gym shorts can be worn at all times. All chains shall be less than 12 inches in length.All chains shall be less than 6 inches in length. No “sagging” pants or underwear showing.
A clear dress code is needed to have a dignified school environment. We must solve this problem, and create an environment where learning is the first priority. I think all school boards should look into creating a clear, specific dress code for students. We have a long way to go.
**Foothill Technology High School and Ventura High School have slightly different dress codes. Pacific High School and Buena High School do not have listed dress codes online, they follow the guidelines set out by Ventura Unified School District on page V-8 and IX-15. Foothill Technology’s dress code can be found on page 21 of the planner. Ventura High School’s dress code can be found on page 8 of the handbook.
Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article was unclear about which parts of Emma Kolesnik’s dress code were added or removed from the standing one. Strikethrough text indicates deletion, text to be added is in italics.