Nation Ford clarified the controversial dress code during the morning announcements on April 29 after a number of infractions, resulting in renewed conflict. For years there has been controversy over what is allowed and not acceptable for students to put on their bodies.
Freedom of expression was put in place in 1791 in The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, but dress codes are still permitted within public schools.
In the school dress code handbook, the regulations on clothing are not what younger generations are accustomed to wearing. For instance, the handbook states that shorts may not exceed the mid-thigh, but with today’s style, shorts are not made to be knee length, especially for women. Students have been protesting the rule on shorts during school.
As the weather warms up, students tend to want to wear shorts and other various summer clothes, but the code does not consider shorts and summer tops to be appropriate for school. This causes controversy, making some students feel embarrassed.
“Girls should be allowed to wear athletic shorts to school,” Vernia Delgado (‘23) says. “They are comfortable and the weather is getting warmer.”
Female students also feel discriminated against. They feel that the code favors male students over female students. In a circumstance where a male wears the same length shorts as a female, the male generally does not get dress-coded while the female does. This increases tensions.
Another factor that creates tension is when male teachers confront female students, which makes girls feel uncomfortable and embarrassed. “Male teachers should not be able to dress code girls. It’s uncomfortable,” Delgado says.
Historically, women have been objectified. In an Australian study, 81 women were studied over time, and each woman reported that they were targeted for objectification between 3 to 4 times on average, as well as being a witness to sexual objectification of other women 9 to 10 times on average.
In Fort Mill schools, female students also feel as if their freedom of expression is being taken away. Private schools have the ability to enforce rules that must be followed, and the students must follow these rules because they choose to go there.
However, students in public schools are required to attend that public school, making dress code a disputable topic.
Some coaches agree the dress code is problematic.
Softball Coach Craig Brown says, “If girls in the school get dress-coded for wearing a certain thing, then so should boys.”
The reinforcing of dress code policies caused tension to rise between sports’ teams as girls attempted to wear uniforms and shorts during the school day.
Issues arose with the dress code due to students being incorrectly told by some coaches that they could not play if they intentionally violated the dress code. The statements re-ignited the argument over what is appropriate to wear at school.
Many students say that the district dress code should be rethought and give more consideration to females due to the embarrassment.