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School Dress Codes V. The First Amendment

1678 words - 7 pages

America was founded on popular sovereignty and individual freedoms. What do Americans do when the freedoms given to them from birth are restricted or taken away from them? They fight! Throughout time the government has attempted to take away our civil liberties because they viewed them to be for the greater good. One huge government failure was the attempted prohibition of alcohol. It is well known that alcohol can be very dangerous and it should be restricted. However, the government went too far when it tried to take it away completely and just like their rebellious founders the American population just found ways around the law. Similarily, Carroll High School and other schools throughout the nation are severely restricting the students’ rights to express themselves through their visual appearance. The administration, relying on the crutch of limiting distractions and violence, is taking the dress code over the line and is infringing on our right of expression regardless of the lack of results that they are witnessing.
Life is full of distractions and, for high school students, inappropriate clothing has the potential to grab much attention. However, does the matter of clothing warrant strict rules? I agree that, like alcohol, the students’ attire should have rules regarding whether or not the choices in clothing are suitable for a public school setting. I also agree that violators of school rules should receive punishment for their lack of compliance to the school policies. However, there is a fine line. Some schools, like Carroll High School, are taking dress codes too far. One rule in particular hinders the students’ ability to wear pants with holes in them. It makes sense that holes located in certain places might cause a distraction and therefore should be outlawed. On the other hand, it is unnecessary to reprimand kids for holes in their pants that are below the knee. If one young lady can wear shorts with a “four inch inseam” or a skirt “no more than three inches from the center of the kneecap” (Carroll High School Student Handbook 2010-2011 17) then why can’t the same girl wear a pair of jeans with a small hole in them below the kneecap? All eyes are turned towards the girl sporting the classy dress and no one even notices the small hole located in the shinbone area. The strict dress codes do teach the students to dress in a respectable manner that will be necessary in future job efforts, however high school students are not at work. A majority of students have jobs and comply to the job related dress code because they are being paid to do so however, they are not being paid at school and simply want to be able to express themselves while in the public eyes of their peers. The administration is exercising all of their power to prevent the wearing of what they believe to be as inappropriate clothes, when in reality it is not.
The prominent reason behind the various overdone school rules regarding dress is the loose power that...

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