If the school dress code exists to promote productivity of learning, it begs the question as to how restrictions on freedom of expression and dress correlate to a higher performance in the classroom.
Dress code restrictions intend to make the viewer of the clothes comfortable rather than the ‘wearer’ of the clothing themselves. This promotes the notion that students are obligated to conceal themselves to allow for their peers’ improved focus in class.This focus places a higher importance on physical appearance, rather than academic studies. This notion also permits the idea that it is the wearer’s responsibility to cater to the impulses of those around them.
The Convent and Stuart Hall handbook states that they see “the daily dress code as a language that communicates readiness for the work of academics.”
Dressing for success is up to the individual because each person is most comfortable with their personal style and clothing. Certain clothing items that are considered nicer, including dresses and skirts above the knee, are also not permitted within the guidelines of the dress code, whereas jeans are.
Aside from the purpose of dress codes, they can often be difficult to enforce, causing students to miss out on class time and resulting in unfair disparities between those disciplined and the who are able to get away with certain dress violations
Students may possess innate biological features which make certain dress options more susceptible to falling under the category of a dress code violation, yet in comparison to another student not born with such characteristics such as a larger chests or longer legs in women, only one would be apprehended, simply due to the fact that the violation is more noticeable on one student.
A study by Virginia Tech regarding school dress codes and uniforms found that there were no large differences in overall student attendance or achievement when a dress code was present. Additionally, this study found that certain students performed at a lower level on tests where uniforms were enforced. Dress codes also have no effect on attendees or preparedness, underscoring the skepiscm behind the intended academic purpose behind dress codes.
In holistically viewing the importance of a school dress code, it is clear that although the intended purpose to promote academic achievement is understandable from the perspective of the school administration, the actualization of this as a means of increasing productivity in school is unsound. Not only are students encouraged to conform to a stratified idea of what is considered ‘acceptable,’ but the academic progress of students is not bolstered at a significant enough level to justify the negative effects on students’ creativity, self-acceptance, and use of class time.