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Dress Code Debacle

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The BSM Junior High dress code is in place to help students know how to appropriately dress for a given setting, because it is part of the learning process. The purpose of it is to allow students to maintain a modest, comfortable appearance that is conducive to learning as well as to allow for some freedom of self-expression. But why does BSM have a dress code?

Let’s go back in time to 1982, shortly after Benilde and St. Margaret’s combined. Back then, the Benilde boys had no uniform, and instead, they had a dress code. The St. Margaret’s girls had a uniform. As time passed, it became evident that girls and boys would need the same rules relating to appropriate school attire. The girls and the boys were then given a new dress code, an equal one for both genders. Even though the dress code was stricter back then, this is when the BSM dress code started. The current dress code was created using similar motives. BSM has had a dress code ever since.

BSM has a dress code to make students feel comfortable at school, both in social and physical ways. Junior High Dean Mr. Platt says, “The dress code exists so that we can have an appropriate and professional atmosphere for students and adults.” Some students at BSM cannot afford name brand or expensive apparel. If all the other students are wearing these things, the student without them might feel excluded and awkward. The only way to eradicate this completely is to have students wear uniforms, but a dress code allows students to dress to their comfort while limiting judgment. Many students had uniforms at their elementary schools and are glad to have the relief of comfortable clothes at BSM. Studies have shown that when students are more comfortable, they take in more knowledge. This is one of the reasons BSM doesn’t have a uniform.

The dress code at BSM is also strict because it wants to teach students how to dress appropriately. The clothes that are worn are just one of the first impressions you make. Making good first impressions is important, and if you are caught wearing inappropriate clothing, it will affect that impression. The dress code teaches students how to be modest with clothing but still be able to express themselves.

While the dress code intends to be very clear in order to prevent giving out consequences, some expectations are less clear than others.  Lots of confusion comes into play when students read the section of the dress code that states that all shorts, skirts, and dresses must be knee-length. “Knee-length generally means touching the knee, so at least to the top of the knee,” Mr. Platt remarked.

Most other ideas in the dress code are pretty clear, yet some are very highly debated. One of them that is often discussed is the leggings rule. Students have asked, begged, pleaded, and written petitions to get leggings to be appropriate in the dress code, but so far, no efforts have proven successful. The dress code clearly states, “No tight or see-through clothing.” Leggings are relatively tight, and in order to stick with a modest and suitable environment, leggings are banned.

The dress code doesn’t change very often. That being said, it has made a few big changes throughout the years. One of the most popular of these changes was bringing boots back. Boots were banned because of robberies as well as exclusiveness of having expensive boots. When boots were brought back, students were very excited. “I was super excited that I could wear my favorite shoes every day now,” commented eighth grader Molly Mullin. If the dress code was to be altered, it would have to maintain the same style and professionalism as the current set of rules. “The dress code doesn’t change to reflect current fashions,” said Mr. Platt on dress code changes.

The BSM Junior High Dress Code surely has its pros and cons, but in the long run, it really isn’t that bad. Most other private schools in the area are forced to wear uniforms. Within the strict dress code, students are able to express themselves while still maintaining a safe and comfortable environment for everyone. Coming to school should not be a place of judgment, self-consciousness, and exclusion, and the dress code helps prevent all of these.

Just like eighth grader Elizabeth Valley, many students love being able to wear boots again.

Just like eighth grader Elizabeth Valley, many students love being able to wear boots again.

Eighth grader Jack Rigley wears knee length shorts.

Eighth grader Jack Rigley wears knee length shorts.

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