The Chatfield Dress Code

Grae Adams, Writer

Prompted by the return of in-person learning, the controversy of the dress code has resurfaced at Chatfield Senior High. The dress code has always been a touchy topic that has been debated for years. As students attempt to find normalcy after things have been so abnormal while at the same time trying to express themselves and discover who they are, dress code violations have reappeared.

Students of every kind have major thoughts on the dress code. One of these thoughts concerning the dress code is that the dress code is most often directed towards girls – it’s a problem that has never really been addressed. When a fellow student was asked if she feels the dress code is more targeted towards girls she responded with,

“The dress code doesn’t really acknowledge that it’s aimed at girls, but everyone knows it.”

Another peer comments,

“The majority of the dress code rules are strictly towards girls and making sure they don’t ‘distract’ other boys in class.”

While this is a huge problem within the rules, one of the worst aspects of the dress code is how it happens. Students can feel targeted, humiliated, embarrassed, and it often ends up being more of a distraction than the clothes themselves. A student shares that a teacher “made the entire class stand up and raise their arms,” and that this “caused more of a distraction to the class than what I was wearing. It held up the time we could’ve been learning.” This doesn’t seem to be a rare scenario, as someone else revealed the same story and declared that it was “horrible and they went down my row and dress-coded most of the girls.” 

In a meeting with Mrs. Hitchens, Assistant Principal, and Mrs. Bixler, CSH Dean of Students, the dress code was also discussed. Both women were open to suggestions about improving the dress code policy. Mrs. Bixler added, “We need support from everybody,” when referring to the importance of the dress code and enforcing it in an appropriate matter.

After this conversation, both Mrs. Hitchens and Mrs. Bixler said that they are open to conducting a training that teaches Chatfield’s staff how to best address dress code violations so as to not make the students feel disrespected. Since our conversation teachers have been directed to contact administration if they want to address a student and his or her clothing

A student recommended that the dress coded be reevaluated in full. She suggested, “I also think if there are policies in the dress code staff and students feel is necessary, teachers and staff need to make sure they are applying this dress code to both girls and boys. Secondly, if there is a need to dress code someone, they should do it discretely and before or after class.” We need to be fair when requiring specific dress regulations. All students should be treated with equity.

If you have any ideas on what you would change about the dress code, please feel free to let the Chatty Matters team know or send an email to Mrs. Gunkel at [email protected].