Reform the DCPS Dress Code
Reform the DCPS Dress Code
We, the students of DCPS, demand the dress code be changed. The current dress code promotes an ancient victim blaming mentality, which is dangerous to both young boys and girls. However, this could easily be reformed by creating a more progressive dress code.
To start, the DCPS school dress code promotes victim blaming. The purpose of the dress code is to keep “disruptive” and “distracting” outfits out of the school environment. The DCPS Dress Code attempts to do this by creating limitations on outfits which can be worn, such as the rule which states, “Halter-tops, tank tops, backless tops, tops with thin or no straps, or tops that show midriff or expose the body are prohibited.” The problem with rules like these is: while this may come across as gender neutral, these restrictions are specifically targeted at girl’s fashion items. As a result, young girls are targeted significantly more often than boys for dress code violations. Additionally, this forces female students to wear uncomfortable clothing in hot weather.
As stated earlier, the purpose of the dress code is to provide a distraction free learning environment. The dress code targets girls and their bodies, to give teenage boys a distraction free environment. Furthermore, this method gives credit to the outdated idea that teenage boys are “sex-crazed” monsters. By telling the girls to fix their appearances rather than telling boys to take accountability, a harmful mindset of victim-blaming, rape culture erupts in our schools. When a girl is raped, people often ask “What was she wearing?” Dress codes like DCPS aim to prevent sexual assault by making girls wear more modest clothing. The idea is: by having girls wear less distracting outfits, they will be safer. According to a study by A Federal Commission on Crime of Violence, only 4.4% of rape cases involve the victim indulging in “provocative” behavior. This clearly demonstrates the entire purpose of the dress code is mute, as preventing girls from dressing provocatively does nothing to prevent actual rape. The only thing the dress code accomplishes is making girls feel more ashamed. This environment of shame and regret makes sexual assault victims less likely to report their assault. “Only 310 out of every 1,000 sexual assaults are reported to police” (Rain Statistics, Data used from National Crime Victimization Survey).
Adding on, by targeting girls with the dress code, DCPS perpetuates the narrative that boys cannot be the victims of rape. By only targeting girls as potential victims of sexual assault, DCPS ignores the fact the boys are also sexually assaulted. In fact, 1 in 10 rape victims are male. As a result, boys are often too ashamed to report their assault. Furthermore, the Dress Code is an ineffective solution which creates an unsafe learning environment.
Thus we demand to allow students to wear tops that show their shoulders (including spaghetti straps), allow students to show up to one inch of midriff, and allow students to wear shorts shorter than the current rule of “to the edge of their finger-tip” (within reason) when the weather is above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Overall, the dress code should frame itself on the comfort of the students.
A new dress code would create a safer learning environment where students feel free to express themselves. The time for change has come and it is more relevant than ever. We, the students of DCPS, ask that the School Board and the Superintendent take this petition seriously, as it has an overarching effect on every student’s life.
Above the Noise. "Are School Dress Codes Sexist and Racist?" YouTube, Apr. 2019, www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2BmtBjf3VA Accessed 29 May 2021.
Alameda Unified School District. "An Introduction to AUSD’s Revised Dress Code." Alameda Unified School District, alamedausd-ca.schoolloop.com/file/1514016404908/1376459767278/4266656840010053803.pdf. Accessed 29 May 2021.
"The Criminal Justice System: Statistics." RAINN | The Nation's Largest Anti-sexual Violence Organization, www.rainn.org/statistics/criminal-justice-system
DCPS. "Student Dress Code." Duval County Public Schools, dcps.duvalschools.org/domain/1306. Accessed 29 May 2021.
Kendall, Mikki. "Why dress codes can’t stop sexual assault." The Washington Post, 13 Apr. 2016, www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/04/13/why-dress-codes-cant-stop-sexual-assault/ Accessed 29 May 2021.
"Rape Culture | Reagan Williams | TEDxArkansasStateUniversity." YouTube, 3 Apr. 2017, youtu.be/z_2DU7VTOmk. Accessed 29 May 2021.