Some students at John F. Kennedy High School in Sacramento feel like they are being judged unfairly to their peers. Their reason for this feeling is un-uniformed dress code enforcement across race, gender, and size guidelines.
Schools with un-uniformed dress codes seem to have a strict dress code in order to control what the students wear on school grounds. However, looking at JFK’s own dress code rules and violations, one can see right away that female dress code is much more enforced over the male dress code. Approximately 75% of the dress code refers to clothing that is usually worn by female students. As seen in articles by The Atlantic and Huffington Post, many states across the U.S. are seeing this same inequality between the genders.
“It’s more of a distraction for staff to pull girls out of class or stop them in the hallways because they aren’t ‘dressed to code’,” says Jillian Lauderdale, a student at John F. Kennedy.“Girls miss class and end up having to wear P.E. clothes if they aren’t able to go home or have a change of clothes delivered to them. The true distraction and embarrassment is to the student when they’re wearing P.E. clothes around school. When asked why I am wearing such clothes, I truthfully respond I’m dressing for the weather.”
Weather seems to be a factor in why female students at the school just can’t dress to the code. In hot weather, one could see that female students at JFK school often wear shorts and tank tops. However, tank tops with thin straps and shorts shorter than finger length, when arms are put at side, are against dress code.
“It’s definitely not equal in anyway,” says Dominique Maestas, another Kennedy student. “If a tall girl wore the same length shorts as a short girl then only the tall girl would be dress coded because her legs are longer making the shorts look shorter on her. I once got dress coded for wearing a skirt with tights underneath, and there was a girl literally wearing the same outfit as me and got away with it because she was shorter in height compared to me. I also don’t understand the “no shoulders showing” rule. How can someone’s shoulders be so distracting to anyone’s learning?”
Female students seem to face stricter dress code guidelines and even face size inequality in a dress code that is already strict. Not only is there size and gender inequality, but some students feel like race is also a factor in the dress code.
“I know that if I come to school in an all red shirt or a blue shirt, I’m going to be stopped right away. It’s because I’m black,” says Jamari Jones. “I see white guys around school wearing all red from top to bottom, but since they don’t look like a thug or aren’t black, they get away with what their wearing.”
“We try to enforce the dress code equally among all students on campus,” said school administration when asked to comment on this story. “We can’t stop everyone that comes to school breaking the dress code.”
Some students at John F Kennedy have tried voicing their opinions to the administration, but say that they have been pushed away and given reasons for why the dress code stands that do not satisfy some student’s ears.
“I believe that dress codes will have to change sooner or later, especially with fashion and how clothes are being made and tailored, clothing that follows the dress code exactly will be harder to find,” says Michelle Vue. “Not only that, with all the inequality that students face along the lines of the dress code, the administration will get tired and will have to change its rules.”