Is the Dress Code a Problem?


Photo of student Alycia Grogan; taken by Jackie Sauer

By Chloe Levy and Jackie Sauer, Staff Writer

Many students and staff have differing opinions on the Wayne Township Public School District’s dress code, sometimes causing friction between the two.

Some people at Wayne Hills High School have different opinions on whether the dress code is fair or just overall outdated. Some teachers struggle with whether to enforce the dress code or let the students be, while students struggle with following it and also staying on-trend.  Dress codes have been a topic of controversy across the country for the last several years. Many students wonder, are they antiquated and sexist or necessary in maintaining decorum in school?

Some staff are stuck between letting clothing slide and deciding what is appropriate for school.

Principal of Wayne Hills High School, Michael Rewick said the many months of virtual school might have something to do with dress code infractions. Rewick said, “I think kids have forgotten–been too comfortable at home, they have just forgotten how to dress for school. It’s not a bad thing, I don’t believe kids are doing this purposefully; they’ve been so comfortable that they are dressing so sparingly.”

In the last year, with virtual learning, children have been allowed to wear whatever they want, whenever they want. Naturally, when they come back to school it will be an adjustment from the clothes they were wearing to the clothes the community and the dress code deems appropriate.

Mr. Rewick also said, “Dress codes are necessary but they are always a difficult conversation when enforcing the rules.  As a leader, do I focus on being happy that the kids are back only, or am I going to start being a crank about what you’re wearing–and that’s the balance. Normally, when it gets cold, everyone starts dressing appropriately. But I’m just trying to balance out being known as the crank or giving some personal dress freedom. I want people to do what they want but there are rules. Society has rules.”

Some people believe the dress code is sexualizing girls as young as kindergarten, seeing as this is a district-wide dress code that affects students of all ages. Sophomore Emily Kozak said, “I think it’s like wrong because you’re making kids think their clothes are sexual.”

Sophomore Jieun Paik said, “It definitely has biases. Different body types are going to get affected by the dress code differently. It kinda seems like a double standard for some people. Girls get dress coded more harshly than guys do.”

Freshman Mia Smallheer, when asked if the dress code could be misinterpreted, said, “I think people should be able to wear what they want but also I feel sometimes it can send a wrong message.”

The dress code was created about a decade ago, and some believe attitudes about suitability have changed. Different clothes look different on different bodies and that can cause problems. Although clothes can be a reflection of a person’s religion, culture, or values, right now, the community decides how students can express themselves.