The dress code dilemma


Christian Helfrich

Graphic design made by Aynsleigh Penland using Canva’s presentation software

The 2022-2023 school year is the first full year at Fuquay-Varina High School without mandatory masks, and only the second since 2020 that isn’t taking place on a screen. I’m so glad I can finally attend school in the clothes that I want, right? Wrong. With the new harsher enforcement of the school dress code, many students, myself included, are now very limited in what they are allowed to wear on campus. 

First of all, the dress code wasn’t strongly enforced until this school year. As a senior, I have gone through the past three years of high school being able to express myself through fashion without discipline. This is a big deal to me because, like many other students at Fuquay, I put a great deal of thought into how I dress. With the new rules about what we can and cannot wear, it feels very limiting. I think the element of surprise that was added to the dress code caused more of a stir among the students than the faculty expected. Most of the uproar was caused by the young women at Fuquay. 

“Why does my skin bother people? I’m here for an education, not to be told what to wear,” said senior Emily Stemmer.

While some of the newly enforced restrictions seem rather unnecessary, there are a few that make sense, such as nothing that can be used as a weapon, no gang-related clothing, and no inappropriate graphics or words. Those are all very reasonable rules, but some are a little silly. No crop tops, no tank tops, no head coverings, unless they serve a cultural or religious purpose, etc. 

Senior Ashlyn Sawyer said, “I think it’s ridiculous. Why does the staff care about showing a little bit of skin?” 

Crop tops and tank tops have become so popular in the past decade that most people don’t even consider them “provocative” or “inappropriate” to wear anymore.  To most people, they’re viewed the same as a t-shirt. They’ve become so normalized, in fact, that it’s hard to find a cute shirt in stores that isn’t cropped, which would make it even more difficult to find clothes that are considered appropriate for school. Besides that, it’s hot outside. Tank tops and shorts are to be expected in 90-degree weather. Of course, as fall approaches, it will cool down and we’ll start seeing these articles of clothing less and less.

The dress code is enforced to prevent distraction, and it’s usually the students’ problem if they’re found to be wearing something distracting. However, if you find an exposed midriff or a bare shoulder to be distracting, maybe it isn’t the student’s problem after all.