Many schools in the United States and abroad implement dress codes for their students, with most schools claiming that they are needed so that students can focus more on academics, prevent discrimination based on the types of clothing people wear, and also provide a safer environment.
Dress codes may come in many different forms. Private schools, especially in Europe, have strict dress codes, which consist of a uniform. These uniforms often follow a distinct style: skirts, dress shirts, and jackets/cardigans for girls and dress pants, dress shirts, ties, and jackets for boys. However, other schools may implement dress codes that restrict the types of clothing students can wear. For example, limiting colors, types of pants (ex. No leggings), shorts and skirt lengths, neckline restrictions, and many more.
Do these strict dress codes or restrictions really help to improve student morale and eliminate discrimination? To an extent, yes. The uniforms definitely help to reduce discrimination based on clothing choices. It may also help the students focus more on academics, since they have one less thing to worry about in the morning. The dress codes also may help to reduce discrimination, but only by a minuscule amount. Even though limitations on what can be worn may be implemented, this does not help much in reducing discrimination because of the brand-name clothing that students who can afford it will wear. This distinguishes them from the other students creating a barrier.
Although these are all very important issues on the reasons schools implement dress codes, I believe that the most important factor is safety. You may be wondering, what do dress codes and uniforms have to do with safety? Well, first of all, it helps the school identify their students from intruders in the case of an emergency situation. Buford High School in Buford, GA, for example, locks all of its doors automatically except for during passing periods when students must walk in and out of different buildings. At all other times, visitors must ring a bell and identify themselves before entering. If the visitor claims to be a student and is not following the strict dress code the school implements, the office will be cautious about letting them in or go further on to identify who they are in a more detailed manner.
Junior Josiah Wyatt, from Buford, has expressed his opinion on whether the strict dress code assists in focus, eliminating discrimination, and safety issues. He said that it does not affect his focus on academics nor does it seem to affect discrimination. However, he does say that he understands the safety protocol issues that are relieved with dress code implementation.