"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."-- Benjamin FranklinSuggested benefits of the proposed dress code
• Heightened safety
• Decreased distractions e.g. teasing, harassment
• School unity/prideOur arguments
• By increasing conformity and stifling expression, students are taught to solve problems by hiding their diversity. It also creates a dynamic of mistrust between faculty and students.
• By being forced to buy school-specific clothes in addition to their leisure clothes, each student will have to pay an extra amount of at least $223 for girls and $253 for boys per school semester, resulting in the student body spending an estimated $1.8 million total per school year*. This money would be better spent on school supplies, books, or anything with a more proven educational benefit than uniforms.
• If the school is unwilling to spend money for our safety e.g. on security or metal detectors, they should not expect us to. It must be decided which issues have priority on the school's budget.
• To address the problem of identifying outsiders, a lanyard system was already implemented. If thoroughly enforced, this would be effective.
• The conclusion that a strict dress code will make our school safer hardly has backing; studies so far are inconclusive. Furthermore, it shouldn't be assumed that potential purporters of in-school crime will be thwarted by khakis, polos, and transparent backpacks.
• We suggest stronger enforcement of the current dress code, which is sufficient and comprehensive. Unlike the proposed one, it is reasonable and has no questionable limitations.Excerpted passages from the current school dress code listing forbidden items
"Students who wear baggy trousers/slacks must keep them secured at the natural waist. It is not permissible to wear baggy/saggy clothes so that the student's underwear is visible."
"Clothing which is physically revealing (excessively exposes the anatomy), is see-through (including mesh shirts, and articles of clothing with holes and rips), is low-cut, and/or bares the midriff."
"Clothing and accessories which advertise or promote the use of tobacco, alcohol, or drugs; or which are offensive, obscene or immoral; or which are sexually suggestive, or promote statements which are derogatory to any racial, ethnic or religious group; or which contain double meanings, advocate violent acts, or are gang related."
Hundreds of students have been wearing black armbands for the past week to express support for the Tinker v. Des Moines Supreme Court case of 1969. This case ruled that students have the right to express themselves through their choice of clothing. As the Supreme Court justices averred:
"In order for the State in the person of school officials to justify prohibition of a particular expression of opinion, it must be able to show that its action was caused by something more than a mere desire to avoid the discomfort and unpleasantness that always accompany an unpopular viewpoint.
Certainly where there is no finding and no showing that engaging in the forbidden conduct would 'materially and substantially interfere with the requirements of appropriate discipline in the operation of the school,' the prohibition cannot be sustained."
"Students in school, as well as out of school, are 'persons' under our Constitution. They are possessed of fundamental rights which the State must respect,
just as they themselves must respect their obligations to the State. In our system, students may not be regarded as closed-circuit recipients of only that which the State chooses to communicate. They may not be confined to the expression of those sentiments that are officially approved. In the absence of a specific showing of constitutionally valid reasons to regulate their speech, students are entitled to freedom of expression of their views.
We do not attempt to hide the fact that we do not want to wear polos and khakis. They are uncomfortable and unflattering on most body types. We don't want to conceal our opposition to this policy under a facade of altruism. However, since our own opinions are representative of much of the student body, we know that morale, enthusiasm, and school pride will decrease if this policy is implemented. The administration should consider long-term as well as immediate consequences; if students feel that the policy is oppressive, as they have expressed by wearing the black armbands, then they won't see school as a center of education and creativity; they will see it as simply a prerequisite to moving on in life and being able to fulfill their own goals.*Calculated with the lowest prices available at Wal-Mart for five polo shirts, three pairs of khakis, three pairs of shorts, two sweaters, one pair of shoes, and a belt.