Prevent Dress Code from Violating Student Rights

Prevent Dress Code from Violating Student Rights

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Sophie Shanley started this petition to School Officials and

Dress Codes and Student Rights are rising issues in our communities today.

Did you know that in the U.S., African American girls are more likely to be dress coded than any other students? All over the country, kids are dress coded because of their hair and clothing. The reasons for being dress coded are often viewed as biased and discriminatory. One argument against dress codes being that dress codes take away student’s abilities to express themselves. That said, dress codes are supposed to improve the ability to focus in the school environment. Girls are often targeted and even race is targeted. U.S. dress codes violate students’ rights because they discriminate against female and African-American students and they go against some first amendment freedoms.

Dress codes typically have far more regulations for female students than for males. ”...some schools continue to spark controversy with policies that shame female students and police their bodies.”(Nittle, 32). Girls are being targeted by school dress codes. Many have been told their bodies are distracting to the classroom environment. Not only is this making them miss school time, it’s detrimental to their self-confidence. They aren’t the only people being judged by their gender. In Ohio, a male, highschool cheerleader was denied cafeteria lunch because he was wearing a bow. Boys are being told they can’t wear “girls” clothing. Dress code is targeting students with outdated and biased rules based on their gender.

Black girls are more likely to be dress coded than any other students. “Many dress codes can cause black students to fall behind academically, according to a 2018 National Women’s Law Center study.” (Barrett, 21). Studies show that African American students, especially girls, are more likely to be dress coded than other students. They are often pulled out of class when dress coded, causing them to not learn the information being taught. There have been many cases where schools don’t allow certain hairstyles that are more common for African Americans. U.S. dress codes commonly target students of color.

Many people are arguing that dress codes violate their freedom of speech. “Because students maintain certain constitutional rights to free expression when they are in a public school, their decisions about their appearance are, to some extent, protected as well.”(ACLU, 2) The freedom of speech means you are allowed to say and write what you want. Dress code sometimes bans shirts with messages on them. Students say by doing this, the dress code is not allowing them to express themselves, violating their freedom of speech.

Freedom of speech is protected under the Constitution so it must be granted to all students. 

U.S. school dress code discriminates against female and African-American students. It may deny their First Amendment freedoms, therefore, violating their student rights. This topic is still has a lot of room for interpretation on what is allowed. Many people argue that dress code violates their student rights when it doesn’t allow them to express things through their clothing. Dress codes bias against many students and may even violate the U.S. Constitution.

This petition is for school boards in the United States to consider changing dress code regulations and how they are enforced to be equal and unbiased toward females and African American students.

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