Personal Opinion: Student Dress Code Is Outdated

Vincent Gray, Staff Writer

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The Centennial dress code is greatly flawed and certainly outdated; it is clear to me that it needs to be updated.

CHS teacher Adriann Hardin said, “This is high school, not a nightclub,” and to that I say, this is 2018; not colonial America.

I know this phrase all too well, comparing the garb of high schoolers to that of a grown adult on a night out with their friends. There was a consensus among the teachers that I spoke to at CHS that the clothes some students wore were sometimes too distracting for other students, having specific examples like crop tops, muscle T’s and spaghetti straps.

I believe Centennial staff is stuck in the conservative times of their own childhoods, and do not accurately reflect the progression of our society as a whole.

Teachers say they aim to teach their students well, and prepare them for “the real world.” Meanwhile they prolong the idea that harassment and aggression is the fault of the victim, and blame them for their attire.

Regardless of how a person chooses to present themselves, it it not an invitation to remark on their bodies, or feel any sort of ownership over their bodies.

I believe that if teachers and staff truly aim to prepare students for the world ahead of them, they really ought to be teaching students how to control their behavior and reaction to society.

When CHS students grow up and become adults, “They were wearing a tube top” will never pass as a reasonable argument in court when faced with charges of sexual assault.

Rather than facing students with the embarrassment of being “dress coded” for their attire, teach other students the self control the world beyond high school will demand of them.

Though obviously I agree with the part of the dress code: That restrictions on drug or gang related attire are reasonable, and keep the school a safe environment.

Teachers and staff claim that the dress code limits distractions, and point to teenage hormones and sex drive to blame. However, there are a multitude of students at the school who abstain from sex for personal or religious reasons, and still hold the ability to focus and work in the classroom regardless of potential “distractions.” This ultimately shows that students are in fact capable of developing the ability to keep their minds on their work rather than letting them wonder, it is simply that they have not practiced it yet.

Small children are easily distracted, but as they grow and learn to keep their mind on a task they develop the ability to stay on task for longer, regardless of external distractions. There is no reason I see we should not expect that same growth in high schoolers. People’s bodies are not objects, they are the homes of our minds and personality, and we let our self expression come out in our self presentation.

These ridiculous victim-blaming ideals that infer belly buttons, shoulders, and thighs are obscene and taboo need to stop.

For a full description of the school dress code, see page 6 of this link.

http://intranet.centennial.k12.or.us/schools/chs/content/staff/_shared/students/student_handbook.pdf

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About the Writer
Vincent Gray, Staff Writer

Vincent Gray, 16, is a sophomore, and is in his second year of journalism. In his free time he can be found drawing, painting, writing, cooking, listening to music, sewing, spending time with a friend, or consumed in some quirky and creative endeavor. After high school, he plans to look for a job in the art world, or work as an advocate for the LGBTQ+ youth community.

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