Changes to the dress code this year have made the current dress code drastically different than before. “Clothing that reveals undergarments (all genders), such as underwear, boxers, bras, and bralettes. Exposure of naval (stomach), lower back, midriff, and buttocks,” both policies having been removed after complaints of dress code targeting specific people. While there are rules like no hats or hoods, they have never changed, which makes sense since it’s for the school’s public safety. Additionally, the current dress code is now more of a gender-neutral policy that doesn’t target specific groups of people.
Former Mariner Compass staffer Ariana Cesena wrote but did not publish an article similarly about dress code. They talked about how the dress code is discriminating and affects students primarily females. They even wrote that they had an incident themself involving themself wearing worn-out clothing because their original outfit didn’t suit school expectations. Ariana advocates for students saying we need to fix this problem and not blindly educate them with these, “false standards.” She goes on to say that it’s not students who are the problem rather it’s the “patriarchal society,” which the school dress code falls into.
“I want students to be able to express individuality and wear what’s comfortable but, be safe and not wear something offensive,” said Nate Duchesne. Duchesne has been here at Mariner for 9 years and 6 of those years have been as the principal. He’s had discussions with others for the past few years and wanted to take gender out of the dress code. They want to maintain safety and take away parts of the dress code that didn’t concern safety.
Why did Mariner decide to change the dress code the way it is? As of late years, the school’s dress code has overgone many changes, and generally, they have been less restrictive. In the 2008/2009 school, year Mariner had a very strict policy where males could not have anything in their hair. Clothing includes many different sports teams, baggy, oversized clothing, and no visible undergarments. As well as pajamas, clothing tattered or cut, overcoats, trench coats, see-through blouses, or ones that expose a single shoulder without shoulder straps. Finally, belly buttons, cleavage, and underwear must be covered.
“In the district, they left it to the high school but there is a trend around in the state of Washington to have less restrictive dress codes,” said Duchesne. The school looked at other districts and other schools’ dress code policies to come up with a better policy since there is no district guideline it’s up to the school. Parents have informally given their input but, students, teachers, and administration mainly give input. The code doesn’t apply to teachers or staff however, they have their own general guidelines they must follow.
The dress code at times may not be clear to students and teachers alike. A kid can wear a bandana, but the teacher must decide whether it’s gang-affiliated or not which provides a vague understanding. Then there are policies like no hats or hoods which is understandable for safety reasons. The dress code’s vagueness can be problematic.
“I worry about some vague aspects of it… it’s harder for me to know if there’s something I should be concerned with,” said Pratt a teacher with 30 years. She says that the vague aspect makes it hard to enforce the dress code, so she passes it on to administrations. Pratt also said that “Kids have always pushed against dress code although may not this year.” She believes that the dress code has improved with gender and ethnic accommodations. However, she will teach her students how to dress appropriately.
So far, the dress code has been back and forth throughout the years about how clear it is and what will stay or change. People have advocated for changes while some believe it’s not necessary to change them. The dress code is limiting to some while it’s free to others and finding that balance between them would improve the situation.
“I believe that the new dress code is an improvement to a prior one… it’s an attempt to fix some problematic language/expectations from the prior one,” said Rob Storrs, who’s been teaching for 24 years. Storrs believes it’s a “delicate balance between expression and safe and professional environment,” in finding a good and reasonable dress code. Society often expects teachers to teach more than academics but, on the other hand, are not satisfied with what they do.
The dress code is meant to teach students how they should dress or be able to. However, fashion styles change they may become something completely new that the dress code won’t permit although it’s normal outside of it. The dress code was always specific about its guidelines and strict.
“Overall, I think the new dress code is better than it was in the past,” said Storrs. He said that he wouldn’t make changes to the dress code currently and that he needs to see the impact of the current policy before making any advocations. “Prior dress codes were stricter and had a clear bias against female attire,” remarked Storrs so, currently the new dress code is better. Storrs would also talk to students and come up with a solution for those who violated the dress code.
While some believe the code is at a good point currently or that it’s too vague others believe it is currently too loose. Today, it is necessary to learn how to dress appropriately and why you should dress like that. Some staff may not be addressing it to their students well enough. Adults lead students in many parts of their life including the dress code so it’s important to do it well.
“The dress code is too light currently. I think we need to go back to the things in the dress code and teach them why they should dress more appropriately for school,” said Tom Myhre, who’s been teaching and coaching at Mariner for 30 years. “Dress code could be tightened up a little bit,” he said. He prefers the dress code to be a bit stricter than it currently is and that the dress code previously was appropriate before the recent changes.
Some educators go about different ways of their teaching and the same is true with addressing the dress code. The dress code is here for students to dress for success and it’s important to make that clear to students that it’s for them not for the adults. There should be a balance between the dress code and how it’s carried out.
“There’s nothing wrong with the dress code just the way it was enforced and made students feel uncomfortable,” said Myhre. He said that in the past when a student didn’t understand the dress code, he would offer suggestions to be in compliance with it. “Use the old dress code and be kinder about the way we enforce it use it as an educational opportunity why it’s important to dress one way out the house and another to come to school or work,” he said. Myhre uses the dress code as a teaching opportunity to students and that you shouldn’t be mean about it or come across as a dress code tyrant.
Students are more likely to always be against the dress code mainly because it is supposed to limit them to certain clothing options. Especially females as they have been the focus of the dress code for over a decade.
“The rules on the previous dress code is really stupid,” said Kaydenz Smith, currently a Sophomore at Mariner. She said that the current dress code is by far better than previous years and that they were ridiculous. The dress code has improved because it was mainly attacking females and guys could wear whatever they wanted.
There are also some that believe that you should be able to wear anything as long as it’s not extreme or explicit. As times change styles do too clothing and designs may have different meanings than they do before. Not all clothing is meant to be regarded in a bad way.
“People can wear whatever they want as long as it’s not inappropriate,” said Zane Huner, a current Junior at Mariner. He said that we’re in a pretty good spot regarding the dress code although one thing he would change is the clothing design restrictions. “Clothing design if it’s not inappropriate why should it be a problem?” Said Zane. He says that the dress code has improved because it now gives freedom to students and allows them to express themselves.