Student expression not to be limited



Page five of the Utica Community Schools high school student handbook.

Teenagers tend to believe that the dress code is something to be fought against because it limits their freedom of expression.  For those who feel they should be allowed to wear whatever they want, the fight an uphill battle.

Teenagers often express themselves through what they wear and how they look, so some believe that dress codes are an attack on their right to express themselves.

According to the Utica Community School student handbook, students can not wear indecent, tattered or unsafe dress or footwear.  They cannot wear beach wear, low cut tops, sleeveless tops, see-through clothing, short skirts, short shorts, pajamas and tight clothing without proper coverage.  Knee length shorts and skirts are acceptable, but clothing that encourages drug or alcohol use is not.

“In general, I think people should be able to dress how they want as long as it is not inappropriate,” Ryan Wennerstrom ‘19 said.  “I believe that strict dress codes do limit a student’s freedom of expression because most people dress a certain way so that they can express themselves through what they wear.  It does not matter to me if people choose not to follow the dress code. If they want to, they [just need to know they] can get in trouble for it.”

Clothes represent an expression of a person’s identity.

“I believe freedom of expression is how you can do, dress and say whatever you want.” Makenna Delph ‘20 said.  “My style is casual yet comfortable, but I was dress coded for wearing a summer dress before. They said it was because of the neckline, but it was around my collar bones, nothing too low-cut.  Today’s trends have a more distressed feel, so I do believe that there should be a limit, but I do not believe uniforms are the answer.  I think there should be a dress code, but it should just be common sense, nothing too strict.”

Not everyone is against having a dress code.

“To me, freedom of expression is being free to do and say what you please,” Mackenzie Klida ’20 said.  “However, I definitely believe a dress code is necessary. If there was not one in place, then students would be able to dress in inappropriate things, such as pajamas, see-through shirts or ridiculously ripped jeans.  While I believe students should not always follow the dress code since some of the rules are not necessary, I do believe you should a good amount of the time since it keeps students from dressing inappropriately.  I believe schools are not a place for completely unprofessional clothes, even if it is not a completely professional environment.”