Abolition of Detroit Public Schools Community District School Uniforms

Abolition of Detroit Public Schools Community District School Uniforms

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Detroit Area Youth Uniting Michigan started this petition to Detroit Public Schools Community District Superintendent Nikolai Vitti and

Detroit Area Youth Uniting Michigan is calling for an end to the sexualization of youth within the Detroit Public School Community District by demanding that uniforms be eliminated to create a safer environment for youth. Uniform policies are a smaller fragment to a much bigger issue of bodily autonomy, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and rape culture. In other words, it is outdated and harmful to students. The DPSCD uniform reinforces ideas of rape culture and gives administrators and teachers the idea that it is okay to sexualize youth for “showing skin,” justifying predatory and invasive acts by students and staff. DAYUM is calling for the removal of the uniform policy from the student code of conduct to prevent these discriminatory and harmful situations.


The DPSCD dress code policy states, “All students, including students exempt from the student dress code, are expected to exemplify proper grooming standards in a manner that projects an appropriate image for the student, school, and district.” An “appropriate image” for the school should not come at the expense of sexualizing the bodies of youth on school grounds. These “grooming standards”  serve as justification and victim-blaming for predatory acts rather than providing a safe learning environment for all. 


Administrators can argue that uniforms create a sense of unity or bring less attention to students that are unable to afford luxury brands. However, that is contradictory and untrue. Uniforms themselves may not be available to students who are either unable to afford multiple uniforms or cannot find these clothes in their size, making uniforms fatphobic, classist, homophobic, and sexist. In many schools, footwear remains unregulated—meaning students can flaunt their wealth through luxury shoe brands. It is no coincidence that this is the one article of clothing not sexualized for female students. This double standard reveals that the main priority of the uniform code is to sexualize and harass young girls. 


In fact, the gendered enforcement of the uniform policy is not a way to prevent disruptions in a learning environment. It actually leads to more time spent out of class when female students are sent to the office or back to their lockers to change. Therefore, the uniform policy is unfair to all women. 


Many use the argument that crop tops, leggings, tights, short skirts, shorts, or any clothing material that reveals skin on a woman’s body is an open invitation to sex or a distraction to the learning of boy students. If girls do not abide by this “dress code” enforced by society, then they are blamed for any sexual harassment, sexual assault, or sexual abuse that they face–even though the blame should be on the perpetrator, not the victim.


The hypersexualization of women in society is a well-known issue across the world; continuing to “dress code” students for showing skin will only create a generation of boys that see women as nothing less than sexual objects. In order to take a step towards fighting against rape culture, DPSCD must take action to remove the uniform policy.


Detroit Public Schools Community District is one of very few districts in Michigan that maintain such an archaic and restrictive policy and it is time that we adopt policies in line with our neighboring schools in the suburbs. As Detroit Public Schools Community District students, we are calling on the school district to remove the uniform policy to ensure the bodily autonomy and safety of youth, to end the hypersexualization of youth, and to fight for an end to rape culture in our schools.

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