Opinions about the THS dress code


Megan Lizambri, Writer

The opinions, viewpoints, and beliefs expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent the opinions, viewpoints, or beliefs of the Titan Times newspaper, Tuscarora High School or Frederick County Public Schools.


The concept of the dress code, although it’s been around for decades, has become a controversial issue at high schools across America as students have recently begun to protest. If the goal of the dress is defined, the level of effectiveness of the dress code can be measured. An effective dress code would be one that fulfills its purpose and is enforced consistently. According to Principal Berry, the purpose of the dress code is to “maintain a healthy academic environment with minimal distractions”. Based on this interpretation, the effectiveness of the dress code can be determined specifically at THS based on its ability to promote a “healthy academic environment” consistently.


After hearing the complaints of students at other schools about their dress code, it occurred to me that I had never personally witnessed Tuscarora’s dress code being enforced, which lead to questioning if Tuscarora even has a dress code. When asked about her experiences with the dress code, senior Haley Livingston asked, “Do we even have one?” In a recent survey, however, when asked if the THS dress code is enforced, 68.4% of students answered that it is. How is it that some students experience the dress code, while other students don’t even know there is one?


After speaking to several students, it’s become evident that while most students remain oblivious to the dress code, many students have been confronted by teachers regarding their attire, sometimes more than once. In the same survey of the student body, when asked if the dress code is enforced consistently, 93.3% of students who answered that the dress code is enforced answered it is not consistent. When asked about her experiences with the dress code, senior Renae Thompson recounted, “Mr. Berry just came up to me in the hallway and was like ‘we’re not gonna wear that top again are we?’ so I just said ‘okay’ and walked away from him, and like that’s happened so many times when the things I wear aren’t even bad compared to some of these girls.” Showing her frustration, Thompson is one of the few girls singled out by the dress code, making her a prime example of how inconsistent it’s enforced.


The final question, and perhaps the most obvious, that must be asked when assessing the effectiveness of the dress code is ‘does it cause change?’ According to the survey, 68.4% of students answered ‘no’, suggesting that students will most likely wear their “offensive” clothing even after getting dress coded. Lauren Roberts, a senior at THS and a witness to the dress code’s enforcement, testified that “they don’t even ask you to change, so I really don’t get the point of it,” so the ‘dress code’ that Tuscarora relies on is only applied to certain students, and when it is enforced, it doesn’t cause any change.


By simply taking a glance at the students of Tuscarora High School, it is clear to see that there is a wide variety of styles and fashion choices; however, that does not give the faculty the right to enforce rules only on some students. A “healthy academic environment” is one where all students are treated equally, and by singling out only certain students, the dress code has proven to promote the exact opposite of that. Because the dress code at THS does not accomplish its purpose as defined by principal Berry, is not enforced consistently, and does not influence any change in student’s behavior, the dress code at Tuscarora High School is not in any way effective.