A serious issue has come up at MVM about the dress code in the student handbook. The first problem comes up when one navigates to the handbook through the BHRSD or MVRMS website. The current available handbook is from the school year 2014-2015, two years ago. Several items on the dress code list have been changed, removed, or updated. For example, in the old handbook it says, “Hats are not permitted in the school building.” This rule has been removed in subsequent editions. However, a new student might believe this rule is still in place and enforced.
On page 16-17 of the 2016-2017 student handbook, the “dress expectations” are as follows: “Clothing that references tobacco, alcohol, drugs, weapons, or contains innuendoes [innuendos] referring to violence or sex is not acceptable. Skirts and shorts must be no shorter than fingertip length or must have at least a 3 inch inseam. The leg length applies whether or not tights or leggings are worn. See through tops, dark bras showing through shirts and straps showing are unacceptable. Spaghetti straps are not allowed. Tank tops must have at least a 2 inch shoulder covering. Showing cleavage or underwear is not permitted. Shirts must be a minimum of two inches below the waistband or long enough so there is no skin showing.”
One of the major problems with this is the amount of rules pertaining to boys vs. girls. The showing of cleavage or underwear rule, and the clothing referring to violence or sex rule are both gender-neutral. However, most of the other rules reference specifically refer to girls’ clothing.
The worst part of the dress code is how it is enforced. Some teachers barely notice how students are dressed, whereas some seem to pounce on an opportunity to enforce the dress code. This double standard makes it hard to know what to wear,
The student handbook also reads “Students wearing inappropriate items will be asked to change clothes, cover the item, or call home for a change of clothing.” However, boys breaking the dress code will often be told to cover up the item, while girls breaking the dress code will often be sent down to the office to call their parents for a change of clothing.
It would provide a more positive environment in MVM if the dress code were equally enforced. Perhaps the teachers might convene about enforcing the dress code the same in all classrooms.
by Emily Erickson
April and May updates: