To Dress, or Not to Dress

Photo courtesy of Matéo Hunter.

Photo courtesy of Matéo Hunter.

Mateo Hunter, Reporter

Photo courtesy of Matéo Hunter.

The age-old debate of dress codes within educational environments has recently surged at our school because of its reinitialized enforcement. As many are aware, the 2021-2022 school year was different from the average school year. Administrators were lenient on many traditional school policies including the dress code. Entering a normal school year has also come with more strict policies and regulations.

Dasia Brown (‘23) is a student into fashion and enjoys expressing herself with her clothes. She believes that many of the school restrictions on dress code are unnecessary and unfair.

“I feel that it’s very excessive and it’s set in a very yelling, aggressive way. And I do not think people should be threatened to be sent home because of a little midriff,” said Brown.

She has been dress coded twice and recalls these interactions never being respectful. She feels that the enforcement in practice is unfair for more women than men.

“I think [the dress code] heavily targets the women. I don’t think the dress code affects the male population at all. Even though I’ve seen a ton of things I don’t think that men should be able to wear, [they do] because they get away with tank tops and we don’t,” said Brown.

Jonathan John (‘23) is another student who uses fashion as a sense of expression as well as discussing it in social situations. He has been dress coded multiple times but for a slightly different reason. John wears durags (a protective head covering for hair) to school because of its protective purposes.

“I’m just trying to protect my hair. Keep it down. Some days, you don’t want to have your hair up,” said John.

Most students seem to agree that the dress code is overbearing and excessive. Teachers have the role of enforcing the dress code but this can also lead to problems. Teachers must agree on the disciplinary action as well as what the violations are. Ms. Kelly Adam is a math teacher at Chamblee who sees problems with the enforcement of the dress code.

“I just think that all teachers, we’re all gonna have to be on the same page to enforce it versus me having a student come to my class sixth period that has seen five other teachers [and] they’re in violation of the dress code, which means we’re not all enforcing it equally and it gives a mixed message to students,” said Adam.

There is also concern about the equity of the dress code. Students and teachers seem to think that the dress code targets women more. Mr. Wardlow, another math teacher at Chamblee, remembers instances where the dress code was unfair. He also offers a solution to this problem. 

“[The dress code] usually often isn’t [fair]. That’s when we got into trouble a few years back because it wasn’t being enforced very fairly. There were a lot of issues with that. So that probably can be looked at and needs to be evaluated. And maybe there needs to be another committee formed with teachers and students to kind of hash out those things because you guys are going to know whether it’s being enforced fairly or not,” said Wardlow.

Students and teachers are looking to find a happy medium about the dress code rules. It is often hard to decide who creates the rules, however, many students blame the administrators for the execution. Junior Julia Mansour recently got in trouble with the dress code. She seemed to know exactly who to blame for the enforcement of the dress code.

“I do feel like the newer administrators have had something to do with it and I feel like we should lean back on the dress code [from] last year as well,” said Mansour.

Others believe that this is further up the chain of command. Nora Glass (‘25) believes this might be the case.

“I think DeKalb County School District [is to blame for the dress code], I think the administration is doing their best, [they are] definitely trying,” said Glass.

The variety of questions and answers about the dress code seem to be the main cause of the issue. This topic may never be resolved truly, however, it seems that both students and teachers want to create a safe, comfortable learning-environment.