Dress Code (Red)

A look into the various opinions on Troy High School’s dress code.

On the Troy High School website, the philosophical basis of the dress code is stated as, “The dress of students shall contribute to the health and safety of the individual and shall not disrupt the orderly educational process.”

This vague description is open to interpretation, causing students and faculty to be divided on what this really means. Who is to determine what a disruption to the orderly educational process would mean for an entire school? An entire district? 

Recently in the district, the school board has turned down a request to take a look at the dress code and potentially change the policy for the district. Dress code has always been one of the main pillars of public schools. Even though they differ across different schools, dress codes are generally prevalent in every school.

At Troy High School specifically, students are noticing a stricter enforcement of dress code this year. Junior Rachel Zhai said, “I think it’s gotten a lot worse this year, which is odd.” 

Students tend to have more of a negative view on dress code, with senior Jeffrey Tran stating, “I kind of feel upset when I see other students getting dress-coded, because [they] just want to express themselves.” Students seem to think that self-expression and the dress code are sometimes incompatible, and can’t exist together.

Zhai stated, “[getting dress coded] is really annoying and honestly such an inconvenience.” Zhai has been dress coded multiple times whereas Tran has only been given multiple warnings. 

Zhai said that, “I remember that some of my teachers, when I walked in, would scream at me to cover up and put on some clothes. This honestly made me feel kind of embarrassed and just frustrated.”

Faculty members at Troy High seem to generally disagree with what the students think in regards to dress code, believing that dress codes help enforce a safer and more comfortable learning environment. Physical Education teacher Lisa Danhoff stated, “I think that the [dress code] is much better this year,” disagreeing with Zhai.

Health teacher Meghan Kosters also stated, “I think Troy High does a really good job with the dress code.” 

Counselor Tommy Keegan further elaborated on this issue, stating, “Dress code might make individuals feel targeted and singled out. In reality, I think the pursuit of administrators and teachers is to simply address all students equally.” 

When asked what an appropriate outfit should look like, Danhoff also stated, “I think that just being conscientious of the environment. The bottom line is that we’re just all here to learn.” Furthermore, teachers explained how they try not to target and belittle a student that breaks the dress code. 

Kosters said, “If a student breaks the dress code, I would work with other staff members and admin and put the student first to make sure that they feel safe and not attacked. I would go over the expectations of things that you can and can’t wear at school.”

Michelle Baik

However, even within the faculty, there seems to be differences in opinions about the dress code. While many teachers at Troy High School support the dress code and its policies, some teachers, such as science teacher Sydney Barosko, dislike the idea of a dress code in a school setting.

Barosko stated, “Overall, I think that the idea of dress code is outdated. Historically, a lot of the dress codes that I have experience with are kind of written around policing women’s bodies.”

Students also seem to resonate with this idea that dress codes are unfairly directed towards certain demographics. Zhai stated, “Dress code absolutely disproportionately affects certain groups, specifically women. Men do gross things but they never get called out for it. It’s just a ridiculous double standard.” 

Zhai continued, “A lot of the rules in the dress code are directed towards women, like the midriff rule.” 

Senior Zoe Silver also added,  “Durags are used for Black hair care but students are often told to take them off, even though durags are a part of their culture.”

Interestingly, Tran was able to make it through an entire school day without wearing a shirt under his denim jacket, but was never dress-coded by a teacher or administrator. 

Lilly Martin

However, Danhoff stated that, “From an adult teacher perspective, I would say that the dress code doesn’t disproportionately affect a certain group. We’re all in the same community and I feel like rules need to be consistent and followed by everybody.” This provides more evidence of the divided opinions on dress code at Troy High that continue to be suppressed and pushed aside. 

The immense difference in opinions on dress code between students and faculty, as well as the lack of communication between these groups, causes students to feel uncomfortable, frustrated and unheard. Even though many faculty members do not seem to see much of an issue with the current dress code, a lot of students dislike it and feel it is outdated. Creating a space for students to speak on their experiences with dress code with the board of education could help create a new set of rules that more students approve of. Allowing for both students and faculty to voice their opinions would help our school to reach a middle ground and better the relationship between admin and students, creating a more harmonious comfortable setting for everyone. 

When asked about what changes she wanted to see to the dress code, Zhai said, “I want students to feel comfortable wearing whatever they want. School should be a safe place for kids to express themselves freely.”