Dress Code Investigation, Part 1 of 3

Part 1: Polling Shows There’s a BIG Problem

Authors: Eva T. and Shannon W.

21 January 2018

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Introduction: The dress code has long been a bone of contention within the Upper School community. Consequently, it has always been a subject of interest for The Chronicle. Excitingly, the upcoming “dress code committee” appears to be approaching the Code with an eye towards reform – reforms that are both sorely needed and long overdue.

What follows is an exhaustive, well-researched Chronicle investigation by two enterprising new journalists, Eva T. and Shannon W. On behalf of the Editorial Board, I hope that this three-part article series serves to inform the committee, the administration, and the student body about the issues facing the dress code and possible avenues for change.

– Kyle M., Editor-in-Chief

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“I got muumuued!” This is a statement you’ve probably heard once or twice amongst Shorecrest students. The infamous hibiscus-clad shirts and dresses have been transformed into their own verb. It’s no secret that some students are not fond of muumuus, and the dress code guidelines in general.

The Chronicle circulated a survey regarding the dress code to each Upper School student via email during the first semester. A total of 137 students participated anonymously. On a scale of 1-5, students were asked to rate the fairness of the dress code guidelines, with 1 being “completely unfair” and 5 being “completely fair.”

According to the data, 37.2% of students think that the dress code guidelines are completely fair for male students, and 73.7% gave them a 4 or a 5. In contrast, only 7.3% of students think that the dress code guidelines are completely fair for female students, and only 23.4% gave them a 4 or a 5. Overall, the male dress code earned an average rating of 3.89, while the female dress code earned an average rating of 2.70, a significant gap.

 The polling results regarding the dress code for female students showing far lower support than for the male dress code.
The polling results regarding the dress code for female students showing far lower support than for the male dress code.
 The polling results regarding the dress code for male students, showing notably higher support than for the female dress code.
The polling results regarding the dress code for male students, showing notably higher support than for the female dress code.

The poll also asked students to leave comments, which revealed that a fair amount of students are unhappy with the current dress code.

For example, many students are concerned about finding clothing that adheres to the dress code. “It is actually very difficult to find shirts that follow the dress code and allow for self-expression, something very important to many teenagers,” noted one respondent. “A lot of stores simply don’t sell things that fit within a strict dress code, and I’ve heard frustrations from students across the grades in terms of finding proper clothes.”

Others are concerned about the logistics of dress code restrictions. “My shoulders shouldn’t distract anyone,” said one. “I’d also like to point out that we live in Florida. It is very hot here and it is not realistic to wear jeans year round.”

“No teacher, especially a male teacher, should be allowed to tell a female student to take off her jacket to see whether or not she’s in dress code, or judge whether or not she is showing too much cleavage,” stressed this student.

 An example of clothing against the dress code for male students (pictured: Laszlo L, class of 2018)
An example of clothing against the dress code for male students (pictured: Laszlo L, class of 2018)
 An example of clothing against the dress code for female students (pictured: Erin M, class of 2020)
An example of clothing against the dress code for female students (pictured: Erin M, class of 2020)

One student shared her exchange with a teacher. “I was once in [X’s] room with a jacket over a spaghetti strapped shirt, sitting behind a boy who was wearing athletic shorts and a t-shirt with a logo on it. [X] muumuued me and didn’t even see the boy.”

Finally, some are concerned with the humiliation factor. “I was muumuued as a freshman, and I felt very embarrassed. When I showed up to school, nobody commented on my outfit, but once I was muumuued, people noticed. The muumuu was more distracting than my shorts,” said one student.

The Chronicle received many stories and concerns from frustrated students. However, there were a handful of students who testified that the dress code is fair, in one way or another.
One student asserted that the dress code for male students “is very easy to follow and fair for us. … I wear most of what I own to school.”

“I think it is fine how it is now,” another student said.

One simply stated, “I like the dress code.”

“The girls will always break the dress code, no matter what,” someone offered. “Many people complain, but the dress code really is just and fair.”

In the second part of this series, The Chronicle analyzes another school that, several years ago, made national headlines for their dress code controversy. Their experience may offer suggestions for Shorecrest. Part 2 can be found here!