Dress Code a Hot Topic in the Hallways, Classrooms

No clear consensus for how to satisfy teachers and students

Erin Crow, News Editor

The dress code is a hotly contested issue in the halls of Gunnison High School (GHS). While teachers and administrators have amplified their efforts in enforcing the dress code, there has been a tug-a-war between staff and students on the policy expectations. 

Section JICA – Student Dress Code of the Gunnison Watershed School District Board Policy states, “District-wide standards on student attire are intended to help students concentrate on schoolwork, reduce discipline problems, and improve school order and safety.”

Many teachers agree with the decisions set out by the school board, implying it is in students’ best interest to have a dress code. In their line of logic, it’s the most appropriate and accessible for every student, and it keeps the schools safe and comfortable. 

“The dress code policy is meant to help provide a disciplined learning environment that is essential to a quality educational program,” said GHS Vice Principal Robin Wilkinson. 

“There’s a time and a place for everything. What might be fabulously appropriate for a night out in Paris, a beach boardwalk, or attending a formal event, might not be appropriate for a day of academics in a public high school, ” added GHS art teacher Erin Vokoun.   

The majority of students, however, are in disagreement with the current dress code regulations. Among their concerns are: the sexualization of young people, discomfort during warmer weather, and an overall dissatisfaction of what classifies as acceptable in the hallways. 

“The dress code shouldn’t be applicable during warmer weather because it’s too hot to be wearing conservative clothing,” said Lauren Schultheis, a GHS senior.  

In addition, many students disagree with current the code because they find it sexist and discriminatory. 

“(The dress code) is discriminatory towards females at this school,” said junior Peyton Frias. “As a male that has been in the Gunnison schools my entire life and has never been dress coded, I personally think it’s stupid.”

“Dress code is discriminatory towards females and an abuse of power,” added Quincy Copenhaver, also a junior.

The two biggest issues in the dress code remain to be students wearing hats and female student wearing revealing clothing.

The GHS Student Handbook for the 2021-2022 school year states that the following items are not acceptable:

  • Clothing that is see-through or revealing; (the midriff area and back must be covered and tops must have straps).
  • Clothing that advertises or advocates alcohol, drugs, tobacco, sex or violence.
  • Clothing that has obscene or questionable language or graphics.
  • No gang related attire. 
  • Students are not to wear hats or sunglasses in the building during the school day or they will be confiscated. Hats must remain in lockers or vehicles during the day.
  • Students are not allowed to show underwear at any time. This includes boxer shorts, thongs, and undershirts.

While numerous students have found issues with some of the items above, not all students are opposed to a dress code being implemented at GHS.

“The only thing I don’t agree with is the hats, it’s what we like to do,” said freshman Kayden Olivas-Schoonover. “The rest of it is good, it’s appropriate. We can wear what we want to wear, we just can’t show skin, which is what I’m comfortable with.”

While there is no clear resolution to the dress code that will satisfy everyone, we live in a democracy where students have the opportunity to speak out about dress code to the school board if they present organized thoughts and arguments.

This could result in a change in policy, if students truly find it important. Meanwhile, everyone’s going to have to stick to the current regulations and make the most of it.