Changes to Mayfair's Dress Code are Underway after Students Take Action
After the dress code protest on September 3, the debate continued to stand on whether or not the dress code should be altered. It was brought to attention that the dress code had not been altered in over 20 years. The students of Mayfair described it as, “sexist, racist, and classist” and decided to incite change. A couple of students by the names of Devin Prado, Dae’Janae Hannah, Lailaunni Foster, Tara Bernard, Jennifer Stilwell, Avery Noble, Rhiannon Polk, and Ashley Martin, came together to create a new dress code.
After multiple discussions, the matter was considered and taken to teachers to which they came to a consensus for a middle ground between students and teachers. They reflected on the student-made dress code and compared it to the old dress code while giving their input.
At Mr. Kailiponi’s monthly site council meeting on September 30, the whole dress code issue was addressed. Two students, Junior Devin Prado and Senior Edward Syliva, gave a presentation for those at the meet in which they gave their reason as to why they believe the dress code should be altered and what changes should be made. Their presentation was extremely thorough, and considering the responses of the parents who were at the meeting, most of them seemed in favor of the changes. After this presentation, Mr. K explained that he was in total support of changes being made to the dress code. He also mentioned the fact that there are certain guidelines and restrictions mantled by the Bellflower Unified School District that cannot be changed unless the issue is taken to the district. Some of these guidelines such as “clean/ appropriately sized clothing, no midriff or low cut shirts, no undergarments visible, no gang affiliated clothing, and no sexually suggestive or inappropriate symbols” on said clothing cannot be changed because they are district rules. Unfortunately, most of the biggest issues students had with the dress code lied in those guidelines. During this meeting, parents were given the opportunity to give their input just as the teachers did.
Since teachers’ opinions are crucial in this decision, Mr. Caron gave his input. Right off the bat, he revealed that the dress code is significantly harsher for females in comparison to males, and even went on to ask what restrictions there are for boys. He says, “A genuine fear is that boys can’t handle it, and so we come down on the girls.” This is true, as more than half of the dress code restricts female bodies with no valid reason. Although it is a workplace and one that should be respected, some of the restrictions are unnecessary and oppressive. One of the biggest concerns most of the teachers had with the dress code is keeping the restrictions of hats and beanies because not only are they disrespectful but they can also hide headphones. Mr. Caron adds, “When you come into this room it’s different from outside, so I want an acknowledgement of that… ‘I’m going to show you respect by taking off my hat.’”
When reviewing the teachers’ input, it was evident that they wanted restrictions on beanies and hats during class, covering any undergarments, shorts and skirts at inseam must be at least 4 inches long, and tops must be at the belly button level or longer. Spanish teacher Senora Miranda adds to Mr. Caron’s points and says, “There are some boundaries that need to be kept in terms of seeing people’s private stuff… I don't think that should be appropriate.” Miranda also mentions the idea that there is a time and place for everything and choosing to wear revealing clothes to school is not the place. I’m sure all students can agree that the dress code can be harsh but as Miranda says, there should definitely be some boundaries. Everyone just needs to come together to agree on those boundaries.
When speaking to these teachers, it is apparent that they are taking the clothing aspect of the dress code more into consideration. However, the ability for students to express themselves through hair color and piercings is still an issue. No matter what happens, Mayfair will revise their current policies and will implement a new dress code soon.