The Dress Code Council And The Effect Of Student Voices

Why Student Voices Are Key To Change


Lucius Boget

Students meet to discuss the dress code. Left to Right: Xavier Phillips, Isaac Hatch, Jacob Winter, Bella Amell, Bree Shiley

The DCC (Dress Code Council) would be a student-run council able to rewrite and improve upon the dress code here at Brunswick and possibly around other schools in Frederick County. How exactly are they planning on doing this? They have reached out to the Student Member of the Board of Education—which may lead to the DCC’s message being spread across to other schools. This also allows for the possibility of the student body to rise as one voice that will be heard by the Board of Education itself.

The dress code, however useful it might seem, is not nearly specific enough to cover factors such as new fashions/ styles, self expression, or personal perspectives on what might be deemed as “appropriate” to wear in a school environment. However, it is very specific in one particular aspect: it seems to target females or feminine identifying individuals with commonly offenseive articles of clothing worn by this group of people being prohibited.  

Commonly offensive articles of clothing include:

  • “Revealing” types of shirts (these include halter tops, tube tops, low cut shirts, half shirts, etc.)
  • “Short” Shorts (must be fingertip length when standing w/arms at sides)
  • Hoods/Hats
The speakers answering questions at the assembly. (Courtesy of Lucius Boget)

Although the dress code applies to all students, there is mainly one that commonly affects male identifying students—and that is the ban on headwear for non-religious purposes. Recently however, that ban was lifted and no longer applies during transitional times as students commute to classes. This leaves most, if not all, of the dress code being aimed primarily at feminine identifying students.

Personally, I have seen many students who were not dressed to the standards of the dress code put into place. These students’ clothing did not affect any student’s behavior from what I have seen. One of the DCC members said it best when they stated, “It is important to prioritize self accountability versus the sexualization of students.” If the true purpose of the dress code is to stop students from becoming distracted by articles of clothing, perhaps we should focus more on the student being distracted rather than the clothes of a student who is already focused and ready to learn.

It is important to prioritize self accountability versus the sexualization of students.

— A Dress Code Council Member

Now what are the benefits and shortcomings of this council? For starters, this council would give the students the ability to voice their concerns and make it so they can make changes on a bigger scale. A great example of this happening already was when the rule banning hats and hoods was amended because of the students’ voice arguing against the rule. When talking to Principal Berry, he stated, “At the first meeting several weeks ago, people were voicing their concerns and I considered a compromise that would work with the dress code, so I unbanned hats out in the hallway.” This meeting allowed students to change school rules that sounded unreasonable. It all truly comes down to how the board responds to the DCC in the first place. If the board cooperates with the DCC, it could put unheard student input into the past and create a more fair and open environment. On the other hand though, the board could resist the change and practically stop the DCC in its tracks.

When interviewing the speakers, they had spoken about the staff and how they would react. While they had said that some of the staff members had been very supportive, they had not given any names for who were supportive or those who were not (for privacy reasons). The one person who was specifically referenced was Principal Berry. I had said before that he was very open to this idea of allowing the students to choose the dress code (within reason…) but what was not mentioned is that he had also said that he wants the students to have a voice in the policies that affect them directly. 

The Brunswick Roaders at the assembly. (Courtesy of Lucius Boget)

To be able to have your fellow peers behind you when you are advocating something is a very motivating thing that can allow you to move towards your goals. And with that, I’ll leave you with a quote from one of the speakers that embodies their movement:

“It would be easier for things to change if students have the right to vote on the things that affect them.”