By: Armani Brutus
The purpose of a dress code in one’s work environment, at a social gathering, or at school is for there to be a sense of unity and formality. A dress code is put in place in order to uphold or achieve the desired atmosphere of an environment.
Schools, specifically high schools, are a prime example of a set dress code. From Pre-K to middle school, uniforms are required to make sure that the environment is set to be that of a place to study. While the restrictions are less strict as the dress code still allows for casual clothing, there is still a level of formality or appropriateness that should be respected and understood to uphold the atmosphere of a place for study.
If Broward County wanted kids to have a strict dress code that entirely promotes the studious environment that schools are designed to be, many public high school students within the county would be forced to wear uniforms rather than have the opportunity to wear more casual and comfortable attire in schools. A certain or specific sense of professionalism among teenagers should always be present.
The atmosphere of a school’s environment is important for incoming and returning students, and this takes precedence with the parent(s) or guardian(s) of these incoming or returning students.
As the caretakers of these students, they would want them to have the best possible environment to succeed as well as be safe. I had the opportunity to talk to Mr. Fatout and other administrators that are involved with enforcing the Broward County dress code, and they spoke and supported the idea that having a dress code within a school helps to cut down on the “laissez faire attitude” some students may have when walking onto campus and demonstrates the importance of having a proper appearance.
When students come onto campus with a lax attitude, this mindset will most likely travel with them throughout the day and could cause students to not care much about how their behavior is while at school, and this could extend to their grades as well. It is okay to want to feel comfortable coming to school with clothing pieces like sweatpants and a simple jacket as long as you as a student are able to display that your attire does not affect your standing and commitment to school work and behavior. If that cannot be displayed to the necessary degree, then a bias would naturally come into play in how students dress and present themselves at school.
A dress code does set rules for how a student dresses, but it does not completely prohibit one’s attire. Broward County public school students have the opportunity to dress within limits that are there to ensure one’s safety or comfortability within an environment, which goes hand in hand with the formality that a place of education strives to accomplish.
The dress code for Broward County is not perfect. It does not completely coincide with dress trends and the increasing importance of not restricting one’s ability to completely express themselves through choice of clothing, however, as Ms. Hurtado would say, “there is a time and a place.”
Dressing to maintain or achieve can be related to how one views themselves and others. The way a person dresses does not necessarily define them, but it is related to how others see you, which is why a school needs to have and reinforce a dress code. It keeps the academic atmosphere of the school within that studious environment, as intended. The quote “dress for success” holds true in more than one respect, and that will most likely be more evident once students become working adults.
Enforcement of the dress code is not meant to be seen as an effort to restrict students on how they dress, rather as a way to keep students more attentive in class. Wanting to wear your most comfortable outfit to school is fine; however, it should be appropriate for school.