Update the BCPS Dress Code

Update the BCPS Dress Code

163 have signed. Let’s get to 200!
Petition to
Governor Larry Hogan and

Why this petition matters

Started by Stella Patterson

(three people wrote this together)

Please note, this is a very long response. We would appreciate it if you would stick around and read it. Thank you for all of the support.

We’re here to talk about the Baltimore County Public School System’s dress code. A simple dress code policy isn’t something that’s often in people’s mouths, because most places have updated their system so that it doesn’t have to be in people’s mouths. BCPS hasn’t. 

[Perspective 1]

On Mar 7, 2022, my friend and I both faced unfairities relating to the school dress code. It was a hot day, and I had taken my flannel shirt off because I was practically dying of heat stroke. Afterwards, I was sent to the office. I sat in the office for two hours, not allowed to leave; go to lunch, go to the bathroom, etc. I missed a test and was 20 minutes late to my math class. 

[Perspective 2]

‘Haven’t we talked about your shirt being too short?” my teacher asked me “the boys in this class are distracted enough,”. I sat there like an idiot, agreeing with her. I’m so sick of hearing the same cliche speech. Instead of teaching boys impulse control, they tell us to cover ourselves up because it’s our fault. We’re the victims. Women are objectified and sexualized on a daily basis, but yet, we are the victims. 

“I'm tired of looking over and seeing your belly button,” She says. Okay, great, I don’t see how that’s my problem. I don’t understand why you are staring at my stomach. This makes students feel awkward and uncomfortable. 

Now I know someone right now is thinking, “Well, if they’re so uncomfortable, then why wouldn’t they cover themselves up?”. Simple answer: we should not have to worry about people staring at us just because we are wearing something that is “too revealing”. We shouldn’t be sexualized for showing our stomachs.  We shouldn’t have to worry about distracting the boys during class. If the boys are busy staring at my stomach, then maybe you should teach something more interesting and engaging. I don’t understand why it’s our responsibility to wear something that won’t “distract the boys” 

[Perspective 3]

I have never been dress coded. But I see so many people get dress coded or pointed out by teachers multiple times and we are all tired of this.. Most people who I see have very little stomach showing. During a class, the teacher called my friend over. She told her that she “Didn’t want to see that”.  Why does she care and look in the first place? The teacher also told her that the boys were distracted enough. No one even noticed her except (other than the teacher). The BCPS handbook says that you get dress coded if you are disrupting learning activities. My friend was not disrupting anything, the teacher chose to stop what she was doing to talk to my friend.   One of my other friends got dress coded by a male teacher. Why was he looking? He was the only one distracted. And he is the teacher. That is a big problem. My friends are getting in trouble because teachers are distracted by their stomachs. 

Girls are often told that they need to cover up or they are a distraction or that they aren’t good enough. We have had enough.  

[No perspective]

By enforcing such a sexist, old-fashioned, women-directed dress code, they’re just showing that we’re objects, and that what I’m wearing is more important than the education I’m being provided.

In the beginning of the year, we were told that we had the right to freedom of expression, but then they pulled an uno reverse and restricted us from participating due to the clothing we feel comfortable wearing. The dress code violates our rights to equal opportunities during the school day.

Like most people, we were both told that we were a distraction to the guys. It shouldn’t in any way be the girl’s responsibility to teach them not to be distracted and not look - it should be the administration. They’re the teachers, right? Not us. Girls shouldn’t be taught that they have to dress differently to avoid distracting men, men should be taught to control themselves and not be distracted by shoulders. 

Our entire lives, we’re told to “express ourselves” and “be ourselves” and that school is a safe space, but if I can’t portray myself the way I want at school, I don’t feel safe, and I certainly don’t feel like myself. Dress codes are usually enforced to promote learning. Just because my stomach, my shoulders, or my bra strap is showing doesn’t mean I'm against learning, I just want to wear the clothes that I want.

We’re growing up in a generation where women’s clothes don’t go past my fingertips and most shirts are cropped. What do they expect us to do about that? Make our own clothes?

We have to look at it from both sides, though. Some teachers claim that the dress code isn’t sexist because it’s preparing us for dressing professionally (for jobs) but how someone is dressed doesn’t impact their ability to do a job, and the dress code unfairly targets girls and has barely any restrictions for guys.

If guys can walk around in wife beaters and sagging pants, I should be allowed to walk around in shorts and a crop top without having to get a new shirt from the gym coaches. This needs to end.

We were told to choose which battles were worth fighting for. Well, this one’s worth fighting for.

Please sign this to change the unjust actions in the Baltimore County Public School System.

Please check out our link tree https://linktr.ee/the11twelve #rewritethecode #changethecode

163 have signed. Let’s get to 200!