Professionalism or Objectification?

The debates over the new dress code policy.

Yelizbeth Reyna, Editorials Editor

While last year there weren’t any rules enforced or being set—this school year proves to be different. Despite many students blaming discipline, Orange County Public Schools changed the dress code district-wide which has caused debates.

On Jul. 17, @oakridgehs posted the guidelines of newly enforced dress code policy.

Teachers and students shared their opinion but some requested to remain anonymous to protect themselves. One of the instructional teachers reflected on the bias of dress code, “I guess the enforcement of dress code can depend upon whom it may favor [which] can lead to distraction [which] can lead to conflict.”

While some agree with the dress code, there are others who do not. Some students feel like they’re being sexualized while staff feel they’re preparing students for the real world. “Having rules such as such not being able to show your midriff or show your shoulders—and if you have a bigger [chest] you’re more likely to be dress coded and knowing our weather is mostly hot and humid—we [have] taken the privilege of wearing shorts and crop tops,” Genesis Lawrence (11) said.

School is a good start for students to get a head start on practicing self-discipline and what the real world might be like. Assistant Principal Dwight Hutchinson clarified how “the majority of the places you go to in life will have a dress code, whether it’s [the] courthouse, whether it’s a job… There [are] dress codes everywhere. So, it starts here in school—being able to practice dressing appropriately, no matter the location.”

In the past few school years, the dress code didn’t affect other students’ learning. Students also expressed concerns about restrictions on durags, bonnets, and headscarves. Some students with afro-textured hair pointed out, “A lot of people might not have the money to get it done or keep it groomed and I feel like being able to put a durag on to protect your hair should be allowed.”

Overall, the OCPS’s policy has caused varying reactions from students to staff. From professionalism to microaggressions, dress code has caused controversies.