High School's Updated Dress Code 'Speaks Volumes About How Much They Respect Their Students'

"Written in a manner that does not reinforce stereotypes."

School dress codes are meant to help students dress in a way that supports their studies, but some restrictive codes have come under fire for being sexist, and/or culturally insensitive. To make the changes they want to see, students have taken to social media to call attention to unfair dress codes, and have even started protests at school.

Schools are listening with some institutions adopting gender neutral uniforms, and changing policies to reflect the diversity of their student body. 

Just in time for the new school year Evanston Township High School, in Evanston, Illinois, has updated its dress code policy in the best way possible.

The secondary school writes in its back-to-school information handbook that the new dress code manual is "written in a way that does not reinforce stereotypes." 

The school does still have rules about what students can and cannot wear. The dress code must not "contribute to a hostile or intimidating atmosphere," and it must pertain to the health and safety of the student. The clothes must be worn in a way that fully covers genitals, buttocks, breasts, and nipples with opaque fabric. And students are expected to wear a shirt with fabric in the front, back, and side of under arms; pants/jeans or an equivalent i.e. leggings, dress, skirt, and shoes that adhere to the prior rules.

If students follow the rules, they're permitted to wear items of clothing, such as pajamas, tank tops, halter tops, athletic attire, and leggings. Students are even allowed to wear hats provided that they are worn straight forward or back, and they do not mask the student's face or block teachers and/or other students' ability to see them. 

But what's even more exciting than this inclusive dress code is the way it's enforced.

While some dress codes are enforced by shaming or exclusion, Evanston Township High School makes it clear that the policies will be regulated in a positive way. They write, "To ensure effective and equitable enforcement of this dress code, school staff shall enforce the dress code consistently and in a manner that does not reinforce or increase marginalization or oppression of any group based on race, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, cultural observance, household income or body type/size."

"It speaks volumes about how much they respect their students," Evanston community activist Christine Wolf told the Chicago Tribune. "It really shows a commitment to listening to kids and what they need, and being open to as many different voices as possible."

Evangeline Semark, Director of Communications and Engagement at Evanston Township High School, wrote a Facebook post about the updated school dress code and how she hopes it can "push school rules forward without the traditional repressive and oppressive results."

She concluded, "This new dress code will lead to an important shift in school culture, and will help affirm the identities of all students while reframing the focus to how we as adults can inspire young people to learn, not control what they wear. This is why we do the work."

(H/T: Scary Mommy)

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