Creating Change

5 min read

Brandon Morsilli

The Rocky Hill School motto is “Know Thyself.” As stated in the Rocky Hill Mission Statement, “The mission of Rocky Hill School is to educate the whole child—mind, body, and spirit. As a school community, we encourage students to become global citizens and lifelong learners, guiding them as they strive for knowledge and self-awareness.” A student’s self-expression and the pursuit of the statement “Know Thyself” are being  deprived by dress code at Rocky Hill School.

    The first school dress code law was established in 1969 by the U.S. Supreme Court. The case, known as Tinker v. Des Moines, involved several high school students who wore black armbands to school in a planned protest against the Vietnam War. The Court decided that schools may limit student expression or enforce dress codes.

    Today, most states have laws that allow school boards to make dress code rules for students within their district. They try to promote a safe, disciplined school environment, prevent interference with schoolwork and discipline, and to encourage uniformity of students. Organizations such as the America's World News site feel that dress codes that ban clothing with religious or political messages on it infringe on students' freedom of speech. Studies show that schools with uniforms or dress codes are dealing with kids that have very low self-esteem. In other words, kids in a school with uniform or dress code have less self-esteem than children free to express themselves through their clothing. When you are able to wear what you want and feel good in what you wear, your confidence is boosted.Teens have been protesting school dress codes all over the world. They believe that it takes away their voice and does not take into consideration the right to freedom of expression given in the Constitution. In one case, about one hundred Utah high school students walked out of class in protest of a dozen girls being told they could not participate in the homecoming dance because their dresses did not satisfy the dress code. More and more incidents have occurred all over the world. Administrators have notified parents that female students are no longer allowed to wear shorts, leggings, or yoga pants because those articles of clothing might be “too distracting” for their male peers. This has sparked a protest among parents and students, who are arguing it’s not a girl’s responsibility to accommodate the boys in their class. More than five hundred students have signed onto a petition protesting the new dress code policy, which they say is sexist because it’s only targeting girls’ clothing.

    I personally have very strong feelings on this topic. Individuality is a crucial topic in the teen world and schools should not be teaching kids to simply blend in. Having a dress code is restricting kids from showing who they truly are.  As kids grow to teenagers and as teenagers grow into adults, there are many choices that have to be made. By allowing students to wear what they want, you are helping us in our paths to independence. When you let kids have freedom and responsibility, it teaches us lessons and guides us through growing up and making wise decisions. No one wants to live a totally predictable life. Not having a dress code allows students to feel unique and different in the community while still feeling equal to everyone else. People argue that there should be dress codes because inappropriate clothing can distract other students or make them uncomfortable. Well, guess what? In the real world you can't ask people to change if you don't like what they're wearing, and school is a good place to learn this reality. Some think of dress codes as a way to improve student discipline; others see them as a way to stifle individuality during a time when students are just learning to express themselves.

      In conclusion, students in both private and public schools in the United States should have the freedom to wear whatever they desire. Stop living in the past and start living in the present day. Kids don't need anyone telling them how to dress or who to be. Everybody is their own person and has their own way of expressing themselves. Remember, as Tyra Banks once said, "Never dull your shine for somebody else."