Cover-up or Be Coded

Sit down and get ready for a trip down the demeaning rules of Hopatcong High School’s dress code. As the winter months end, spring follows, and once again HHS experiences a stricter enforcement of clothing regulation.

One might question, why is the dress code a taboo topic? It typically is not an issue until individuals, females especially, are targeted and pulled aside to discuss their clothing options. It is one thing to enforce the dress code school-wide, but when it becomes subjective to females, it gets personal. There is a code that claims that tank tops with wide arm openings are prohibited, but males with those types of shirts are not called out. According to  HHS senior Natalia Laskowska, “The only thing they (boys) are dress-coded for is wearing a hat in school,” and when they do get called out, the boys will just put their hats back on once out of the line of sight of an authoritative figure.

The enforcement of gender-subjective dress codes creates an environment that favors males, because, even though it may not be explicitly stated, dress codes are aimed towards females. This can lead to females feeling angry that their education is put on hold to change so others can be comfortable, while, as HHS senior, Rachel Fischer, put it, “most of our classmates could care less what we wear.”

One issue that causes commotion year to year is the code against spaghetti strap tops, halter tops, and strapless tops. HHS senior Samantha Serocke said, “They [the code makers] say we are showing too much shoulder and that’s just insane,” and she is right, why is it such an issue that shoulders are exposed? “It’s not like girls are uncovering something nobody has seen before,” said Laskowska. It is not a female’s fault that someone cannot control themselves by the sight of a shoulder. Since high school students are on their way to adulthood, if individuals cannot keep calm, lessons should be taught; as a collective, we are entering the real world soon where people will face larger issues than the revelation of a body part.

Another issue faced annually is the “mid-thigh” pant rule which states “skirts, dresses, and pants/shorts that end higher than mid-thigh” are forbidden. When discussing the length of shorts and skirts, the definition of middle-thigh is not easy to obtain, especially when height ranges vary. If someone who is 5’1 wears the same shorts as someone who is 5’9, the placement of the end of the bottoms will be different, but someone will still be dress coded.

All in all, the Hopatcong High School dress code favors one gender over the other, and out of equality for all, the restrictions should be altered to not be as biased against females. As a collective, let’s all hope for a brighter future, where females are not judged or punished based on what fabric they decide to put on while getting ready in the morning. After all, maybe it’s not a dress code issue at all; maybe some people just need to learn some new manners.


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