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Dear Dr. Pettigrew,
Imagine this situation: I walk into my third period class and my teacher says to me, “Joell I think your skirt is too short. You need to get it checked by the office.” I do not understand why my first or second period teacher said nothing to me about my skirt. However, I go to the office, and wait for the principal or vice principal to measure my skirt. Forty-five minutes pass and it is time for my fourth period class. Finally, the principal steps out of her office and measures my skirt. According to the dress code, a skirt has to be four and a half inches above the knees, but mine is five inches. I now have two options: 1) I could put on my gym clothes that I have worn in gym class all week or 2) I could sit in the in-school suspension room, missing more classes until one of my parents can bring me a change of clothes. If I choose not to put on my dirty gym clothes and both of my parents are not able to bring me a change of clothes, then I am forced to sit in the in-school suspension room for the rest of the day. In this situation, I chose to have my mother bring me a change of clothes. When she arrived twenty minutes later, she was furious and demanded to speak with the principal. She wanted to know why her daughter had to miss three classes.
This experience examines a policy I struggled with while attending Mars High School. There is a great deal of confusion about what is considered legal or illegal according to the dress code. Students’ getting cheated out of class time is the detrimental result of this confusion. Now that I have graduated, I want to express my concern because my younger cousin is going to be a freshman next year and I do not want her to face the same hassles.
I feel our administration places too much emphasis on the specifics of the dress code and forces students to miss important education.
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"Dress Code Dilemma." 123HelpMe.com. 16 Sep 2019
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My main objective is not to do away with the dress code. I understand the administration’s need for one. Without a dress code, many students would take advantage of the situation if one was not provided. However, major confusion occurs when some teachers send you to the office and others do not. For example, you walk into your second class and the teacher sends you to the office immediately, but your first period teacher did not say a word about your clothing. Another example displaying confusion is when I wore a skirt one day and did not get into trouble, and then two weeks later I wore the same skirt and had to change my clothes because it was considered illicit according to the dress code. This all depends on which teachers abide by the rules, and which are more lenient with the dress code.
To help solve this problem, I would suggest creating a “fashion patrol,” which could be made up of teachers that do not have homeroom duty. These teachers would know exactly what the dress code entails, and what they need to look for when determining if clothing is legal or illegal. These particular teachers would stand in front of the main doors and watch for illegal clothing. This will enable the students time in the morning to change clothes. As a result, the students will not have to miss class time because of illegal clothing.
Perhaps your question is “How can they possibly monitor every student that walks in the door?” I understand not every student that violates the dress code will be caught by these teachers who act as the “fashion patrol.” However, it will help catch more students early in the morning rather than in the middle of the day. Another way to ensure students with illegal clothing are caught early in the morning is by sending a notice to all homeroom teachers stating- “Please keep an eye our for any students that have questionable clothing, and if so send them down to the fashion patrol immediately.” With this notice you could enclose a copy of the dress code, so the teachers become familiar with the rules. These two modifications will help students with illegal clothing time to change early in the morning, so they do not have to miss any classes. Not only will this help the problem with students missing classes, but it will also help students understand what is considered illegal because the same teachers will always be the judges of the clothing. These teachers will know the specifics of which clothing is regarded as legal or illegal; there would be no questions. By establishing a “fashion patrol,” you are relieving the problem of confusion students have concerning the dress code. Yet, another problem still remains when a change of clothes is needed.
I propose that the administration provide clothing for the students to change into if their clothing is validated illegal. I have found a perfectly feasible solution to this dilemma. As you know, every sports team in our school receives a warm-up suit that they are able to wear on and off the field. Being a student athlete I know many students, including myself wore these suits to school. Thus, students will not mind wearing these outfits for the day. I know Mr. Heinauer, the Athletic Director has extra warm-up suits in his office, which range from sizes small to 4XL. I used to be one of his aids and I have seen these extra warm-up suits myself. As a result, warm-up suits could be available and students would not have to worry about the suits not fitting. The “fashion patrol” could have these warm up suits in their possession and would be able to provide them to students who need a change of clothes.
The next question that you are probably wondering is, “How will we be guaranteed that we receive the warm-up suits back?” When the students are given the warm-up suit, the “fashion patrol” could have a signature sheet. The students would be required to sign this sheet stating, “You must return the warm-up suit within three days of receiving it or you will have to pay the $100 that it is worth.” Another way to ensure you receive them back is by placing the new idea in the weekly newsletter that is sent home to the parents. This would inform parents about the new situation. The warm-up suits will not get damaged because the students would not have to wash them. The warm-up suits can get washed downstairs in the washing machine, where all of the other sports’ uniforms get washed daily.
Obviously, these ideas will benefit our school in several ways. This will allow our principal and vice principal not to waste time being inconvenienced with petty problems such as the dress code. This will enable them to be concerned about more important aspects of their job, such as issues that will enrich the education program. The “fashion patrol” will be responsible for all the problems dealing with the dress code. Also, fewer parents will come to school extremely angry because their child is missing classes or because they have to drive to the school just to bring their child clothing. Once again, this will allow the principal and vice principal to do more important work, because they will not have to deal with disturbed parents. My proposal also helps students become less confused with what is legal or illegal, and they will not have to miss classes for wearing inappropriate clothing to school. These solutions will help prevent the school district of Mars from receiving a bad reputation because it is more concerned about fashion rather than the education of its’ students.
This proposal seems almost too good to be true because of its simplicity. This idea might not have been thought of before because sometimes the simplest solutions are the hardest ones to develop. I know most students feel these rules are final and they are powerless to do anything about them. However, I feel my proposal adds substantial aspects to these rules, which will help you and our administration with this dress code dilemma.
As superintendent of our school, you are able to make this proposal come into affect. You have the credibility to present this in front of the school board. With their help, you can definitely make this happen. Both of my solutions would be cost effective, and they will provide an overall better atmosphere for Mars High. It will only take a few meetings with the school board to assign teachers to be placed on the “fashion patrol.” Then all problems of an uncertain dress code with no standard ruling will be solved. I am sure it will be easy to place teachers on the “fashion patrol,” because these particular teachers will not have to deal with the duties of a homeroom. Education is obviously your main concern, and providing this will prevent students from missing important classes because of something as trivial as an inch of material.
By taking all of this into consideration, I ask you to please take action to fix this dress code dilemma. I would like to see this problem resolved for my younger cousin as well as all the students at Mars High, so they are not forced to waste a day of valuable education. I am sure you will also agree with me on this subject, considering your main goal is the education of the students. Thank you for your time and consideration.