Our Bodies Are Not A Distraction

Part 2


Julia Maina, Reporter

Last week’s article, “Our Bodies Are Not A Distraction” mentioned the problems and concerns students have with the school dress code. Firstly, the dress code should be gender-neutral. Secondly, if rules are in place they should be made and enforced for everyone. With every rule there should be a reason; an explanation as to why rules are set in place will help students understand more clearly. The policies should be more fitting around those with different cultural or religious backgrounds. Lastly, the policies should not sexually objectify any gender. This week, students around the community have pitched in and shared some of their experiences with the dress code policies. 

Student #1: 

“While I was walking down the hall with a friend during passing period, she was pulled over by a teacher and was told, “sweetie, please never wear that shirt again”. My friend and I proceeded to walk away and overheard the same teacher talk to the teacher next door saying ‘looks like a damn bra’.” 

   The teacher’s statement is understandable for the concern but disrespectful for the extended comment ‘behind’ the student’s back. 

Student #2: 

“I was told my shirt was too short even when I had a jacket over it and was told to cover up my stomach. ” 

   It has never occurred to most students why stomachs are not allowed to be shown. Today’s fashion incorporates a lot of cropped tees and baggy jeans. When a jacket is worn on top, there should be no reason as to why it is such a concern.

Student #3: 

“I was told my shorts were too short. They are the ones the school funded for us to wear for the soccer team”

    It is widely known that most athletes wear their uniforms/jerseys to school on their game days to show school spirit. Knowing that the uniform is school funded and that students love to show school spirit in this type of way, makes it very confusing as to how this would be a dress code issue.

Student #4: 

“I was in my class and my teacher told another student not to wear a crop top anymore to school because she ‘doesn’t want to see her flat stomach’. Later the same teacher told the class that the student makes her insecure.” 

   In this occurrence, there is really a lot to unpack. Firstly, referring to a student that way saying you don’t want to see her flat stomach is absolutely discouraging. A study on body image shows that at age of 13 nearly 53% of girls become unhappy with their bodies and the way they look. Insecurities on their own can lead people down wrong paths in life. An educator making comments that a student’s fashion makes them insecure is unprofessional and narcissistic, given that they do not really know truly how the student feels about their own body. 

Student #5: 

“I’ve noticed double standards in which the dress code is enforced on people with different body types wearing the same shirt but only a select few get dress coded. Also, a staff member at Adams told me my top was problematic because it was ‘outside of dress code’ when there is no rule about necklines. The inconsistency in the way dress code is enforced is body shaming. It is essentially saying the top is not the issue but the person wearing it should not be wearing it because of the way it looks on their body.”

    The talk of body image has drastically increased, especially with teens. When the same outfit is worn on two different teens, a female with a bigger chest or a bigger bottom half might get dress-coded rather than a female with a different physique. This issue is two-sided. Dress codes should be consistent and should be applicable to every student. In addition, teachers should not add their own codes to the dress code that is already established. If a teacher does not like a piece of clothing a student is wearing, but nothing in the dress code establishes it, that self-centered educator needs to reflect on their priorities in life and in their job. 

Student #6: 

“One of my teachers told me my stomach was ‘disgusting’ when there were 2 inches of my stomach showing. The same teacher later told me to drop her class because my stomach was too inappropriate for her” 

   It is very clear to see that the comments made by the teachers were relatively the same – mainly degrading comments towards the students and having no said reasoning. It really cannot be stressed enough how much body image issues can tear a person down. Telling her to then drop the class because they can’t handle seeing the clothing she wears is very inappropriate. 

The moral of the story is that words can leave very deep impacts on people’s lives, some positive, some negative. Kind words are always helpful since many people do not know what someone is going through behind closed doors. After all, teachers should try their best to make students feel safe in their classrooms and all around the school. The students have spoken; it is now time for the school corporations to make a change.