On September 3rd, the students of Mayfair Middle and High School led a protest on the dress code guidelines following the many other schools who held their own protests against dress code around the United States. A flyer was posted on multiple social media accounts the week before the protest, and people were urged to meet outside of the MPB during lunch and bring posters, violate dress code, and express their discontent toward the policy.
I am 100% in support of abolishing the dress code. I honestly feel that school should be preparing us for life outside of it and in the “real world” there is no dress code. Obviously, I don’t think kids should come to school naked or in bikinis, but at the same time, the implemented dress code is outwardly sexist and classist. I don’t understand why young women are sexualized so much to the point where we are not allowed to wear a tank top on a hot day because our shoulders and chests are “distracting.” We can’t wear shorts because our thighs catch “attention”. What is this? Why are we at fault for immature students and teachers that can’t accept that it’s hot and that we just want to express ourselves. The fact that this idea is even mentioned is absolutely disgusting and inappropriate. In an environment where kids are surrounded by adults and people who should be guiding us, doesn’t it seem odd for them to be even slightly paying attention to what we wear?
As generations grow and kids become more self aware, they are discovering who they want to be and what image they want to present to others. Forms of expression can vary, but one of the most prominent forms of expression in our day and age is through clothing. Students should have the right to wear whatever they want and most definitely not hear the excuse that an outfit is “too revealing.” My body and what I choose to put on it should have absolutely no impact on you, especially since I am a minor.
The dress code is discriminatory and particularly harsh on young women due to our anatomy, which is, not to mention, something we can’t control! In comparison to the dress code for boys, the only real issue they have is overly baggy clothes, besides bodily piercings, and hair color along with everyone else. The entirety of the dress code is ridiculous, as it states, “Appropriate undergarments must be worn with outer garments concealing undergarments. Tank style shirts must be at least two inches wide to cover bra straps. No sheer blouses or braless outfits are allowed. No low neckline or back line, bare midriff, bathing suits, beach attire, tight or revealing, or strapless garments.”. I just want someone to tell me how my bra strap, chest, back, and shoulders prevent myself and others from learning.
Another section of the dress code that was infuriating was where it mentioned that , “Clothing and hair must be clean and neat. Baggy, oversized, frayed, or clothing with holes above fingertip length are not allowed. Pants must stay up when hands are raised. No sagging. Men’s shirts may not be longer than fingertip length.” Some people don't have the luxury to wear nice clothes and maintain great hygiene, and that should definitely not cost anyone’s education. I understand the necessity of remaining sanitary, especially during the pandemic, but this is not fair to the students who literally don't have a choice. Not to mention, everyone’s definition of “clean and neat” varies.
One time I was pulled from my 6th period, because my jeans were ripped above my fingertips. Maybe I’m biased, but that’s ridiculous. I’m at school to learn, not to be taken out of class and waste my valuable time having to go to the office because of what I’m wearing.
At the protest, people quickly stood up on the stage and held up posters with their friends. A crowd formed with people who were also fighting against the abolishment of dress code. Some people threw food, spitballs, and water. One person even managed to rip a poster. These actions are extremely disrespectful and inappropriate considering it was a very peaceful protest. Later on, posts were found on Instagram by a sophomore named Johnathan Houssels who shared photos of the girls with disgusting and insensitive comments which can be seen below. This behavior is not what Mayfair stands for and is an extremely embarrassing reflection of our community.
“I understand that it’s school and we’re here to learn, but at the same time this is the time of our lives where we are expressing ourselves, finding ourselves, and we should have the freedom to express ourselves however we wish,” says junior Devin Prado. She’s right, as teenagers, we are discovering pieces of ourselves by experimenting and that's difficult to do when there are so many restrictions. Another participant in the protest, a junior by the name of Dejanae Hannah mentions that she participated in the protest because it “needed to have an update. Certain things on the dress code are very sexist and considering the generation we are now, changes need to be made.”. She’s not wrong as the dress code has not been updated for over 20 years without question. If there is a time to do something about it, the time would be now.. Our generations are evolving and these rules should evolve with them. Bystander and senior Johnathan Vidal goes on to say, “It’s our bodies, it’s our clothes, let us wear them however we want. We come to school for education, not to be discriminated against for our clothes.” As I’ve mentioned before, there is no reason why our education should be jeopardized because of what we are wearing. Vidal makes a great point and demonstrates his support toward this movement.