Female students feel targeted more by the teachers than the dress-code itself

Sophia Schwartz, Staff Writer

Roswell’s handbook located on our website. (Credit: RHS student handbook)

The dress code is a set of regulations implemented by many different schools across the country. Its purpose is to keep schools appropriate for a learning environment. We all know that there is a dress code at Roswell stated in the student handbook which directly references the Student Code of Conduct and Discipline Handbook.What the handbook states and asks of the students is reasonable but even so, many students get dress coded when they shouldn’t. I believe that some of the faculty take advantage of the fact that they have the final say regarding to what is and isn’t appropriate for school. This means that students, especially female students, get wrongly dress coded.  

In order to get a proper looking into this topic here at Roswell, I interviewed female students of all grade levels, races, and body types. I also interviewed female teachers to get their perspectives on things. 
 

Student Interviews: 

Britany Cosom (11th grade): 

Sophia Schwartz: “Do you think that the dress code is fair for both girls and boys?” 

Britany Cosom: “No.”  

S.S.: “Why do you think that is? 

B.C.: “Because the guys can’t control themselves, they should be the ones thought to control themselves, so we (girls) can be comfortable in what we wear.”

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Jayla Davis (10th grade):

S.S.: “Do you think that the dress code is fair for both girls and boys?” 

Jayla David: “No I do not think it’s fair. I honestly feel that it’s targeted towards girls more than boys.  

S.S.: “Do you think that teachers wrongly dress code off of body type? 

J.D.: “Yes, it’s definitely off of body type because it’s more of the skinny, thinner girls who get away with it.” 

S.S.: “Do you think that the dress code targets girls because the boys need to control themselves?” 

J.D.: “No its not because of the guys, it definitely because of the teachers. 

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Kiya Belt Gadgil (11th grade): 

S.S.:  “Do you think that the dress code is fair for both girls and boys?” 

K.B-G.: “No. I think that though the dress code is not inherently sexist, but I know that the people who enforce it are.” 

S.S.: “On a scale of 1-10, how much does the dress code affect you personally?” 

K.B-G:  “I don’t usually dress in the ways to get dress coded. This doesn’t affect me but as much, I know it’s an issue.” 

S.S.: “Do you think that the reason why no showing skin or length of clothing is because of the boys or is because of the teachers feel it’s inappropriate?” 

K.B-G: “The teachers feel it’s inappropriate. And if the boys have a problem with it then I think that they should be the ones reprimanded.” 

S.S.: “Do you think it could be both?” 

K.B-G: “I don’t think that the boys have a problem with it. It’s always the teachers that point is out. They use the boys as an excuse.” 

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Rosa Delgado (11th grade): 

S.S.: “Do you think that one gender gets targeted more?” 

Rosa Delgado: “Yes I definitely do. I feel that females do.” 

S.S.: “Do you agree that somethings teachers call out people for dress coding and base it off of body type?” 

R.D.: “Yes I definitely do. Not just sometimes, normally a lot of times.” 

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When asking the girls these questions there is a commonality between all their answers. They all agree that the dress code isn’t fair and that it targets females. When asked about why they think that girls are dressed unfairly, they all agree that it is the teachers who find it inappropriate. The girls believe that boys aren’t the actual issue. They believe that it is the teachers who think that what they are wearing is inappropriate. The female students also agree that body type affects the judgment of the teacher who is dress coding them. They agree that thicker females have it harder regarding being dress coded compared to thinner girls.  

When interviewing the teachers, you can see their perspective of things. They all state that they dress code based on what is stated in the handbook. When asked if they dress code base of things like body type, they say that they dress code equally.  

 

Teacher Interviews: 

Ms. Majors (Special Education): 

S.S.: “Which gender at school do you think gets dress coded more often?” 

M: “Females.  

S.S.: “Do you, as a teacher, dress code more often dress code based on what the handbook actually states or your personal judgement?” 

M: “The Handbook.” 

S.S.: “Which clothes do you think are no appropriate for school? 

M: “It’s more the stomach showing.” 

S.S.: “When you dress code kids, do you dress code fairly off of body type, race, and gender?” 

M: “Yes. No matter what.” 

S.S.: “For example, if a thicker girl wore short-shorts and a thinner, flatter girl wore them, you are equally likely to dress code them?” 

M: “Absolutely  

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Ms. Brooke (English): 

S.S.: “Do you, as a teacher, dress code more often dress code based on what the handbook actually states or your personal judgement?” 

B: “Handbook.” 

S.S.: “Which clothes do you think are no appropriate for school? 

B: “Short-shorts and tank tops.” 

S.S.: “Why do you feel like those are inappropriate for school?” 

B: “It’s distracting.” 

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Ms. Doan (Special Education): 

S.S.: “Do you, as a teacher, dress code more often dress code based on what the handbook actually states or your personal judgement?” 

D: “Handbook.” 

S.S.: “Why do you feel like those are inappropriate for school?” 

D: “Distracting to boys, I think.” 

S.S.: “For example, if a thicker girl wore short-shorts and a thinner, flatter girl wore them, you are equally likely to dress code them?” 

D: “Yes absolutely, doesn’t matter.” 

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After hearing the students’ views and the teachers’ views, something isn’t adding up. The students feel like the dress code inherently targets females and that the teachers are judging off their opinion on clothing items as well as uncontrollable things such as body types. When confronting the teachers with questions about how they dress code, they say that the handbook is what they use and refer to. It appears that both sides of the issue believe opposite things. This causes an issue because without further investigation it is going to be hard to say which side is correct. Do we take the teachers’ word about being fair when dress coding or are the students just bashing teachers that got them in trouble? Since the issue doesn’t paint a clear picture, nothing is going to change. The girls are going to continue to feel targeted by the rules in the handbook as well as the decisions of the teachers, and teachers are going to continue to dress code kids whether it seems fair or not.  

  As a female that also attends Roswell High School, I agree with the students. I read through the dress code stated in both the Roswell High School 2020-2021 Student Handbook and Student Code of Conduct and Discipline Handbook. From simply reading through the rules, it doesn’t directly target females. It doesn’t put genders towards certain articles of clothing, but there seem to be more rules about clothing that is typically worn by females. For example, Length of shorts, sleeves, and dresses are more of an issue for girls than boys.  

Personally, I have been spoken to by a teacher about the way I dress because as a thicker female, certain clothing items look different on me compared to a thinner girl. It seems to be true that teachers use their own personal judgement when dress coding students, especially females. Thinner, flatter girls are easily able to walk around school wearing short shorts and it doesn’t seem fair that they aren’t the ones getting in trouble. I also agree with the interviewers’ statements about how the boys in the school don’t care what we wear. They are here at school for the same reason we are. They could care less about what clothing we have on. The fact that teachers try and justify their accusations by saying that it’s distracting to boys, isn’t fair. If the boys are the problem, then punish them. Why would you dress code the girls for wearing something, when even the teachers agree that the reason for the rules in the first place is the boys. It doesn’t add up.