Are dress codes stifling individuality?

Some say yes to uniforms and dress codes, others say no. But what path is MHS headed towards? Is our dress code too strict?

Does MHS need uniforms?

Does MHS need uniforms?

As of 2016, 1/5 U.S. public schools require their students to wear a uniform and that number is growing quite rapidly. The idea of school uniforms has caught on fire. It is blazing across the US and schools are snatching the idea up one by one. The question is, is MHS next?

When asked if Mead has ever mentioned or is considering uniforms, Mr. Alain Valette was quick to assure that “uniforms have never come up.”

But that is not to say that uniforms will not be considered in the future.

There are many benefits to having uniforms. “I think that [uniforms] could be useful,” said Petra Jensen (‘23). She continued by explaining that people often judge or make fun of others simply because of their choice of clothing and that uniforms could, in a way, equalize everyone in the school.

Viktoria Adams (’23) adds on by calling uniforms a “symbol for every school.” She explains that uniforms show how proud you are to be in the school that you are. It shows dedication and can increase the sense of community in a school.

A common argument used to show the benefits of school uniforms is that they greatly improve student focus. When a student is focusing on their clothing more than their work, it can cause many issues.

Even with all the benefits of uniforms, there are many that are against school uniforms. Some say that they limit student expression.

“I don’t really [support] uniforms, because I feel like… [clothing] is a way of [expressing ourselves],” said Andrea Randolph (’20). “Dress codes are okay, but many of them are [much too strict],” she added. Randolph continued by saying that often times people are dress coded because an article of clothing is a “threat,” when in reality these pieces of clothing aren’t meant to be a threat at all.

The dress code here at Mead has changed quite a bit since it was first established. But currently, these are the things that are considered to violate the dress code:

  1. Any clothing or accessory that presents a reasonable threat or hazard to the safety of others in a school environment. For example: sharp jewelry, chains, etc.
  2. Sunglasses and/or hats worn over the eyes inside the building.
  3. Clothing that bares or exposes traditionally private parts of the body including, but not limited to, the stomach, buttocks, back, and breasts.
  4. Any clothing, paraphernalia, grooming, jewelry, accessories, or body adornments that are or contain any advertisement, symbols, words, slogans, patches, or pictures that:
    • Refer to drugs or controlled substances, tobacco, alcohol, or weapons
    • Are of a sexual nature
    • By virtue of color, arrangement, trademark, or other attribute denote affiliation with gangs or which advocate drug use, violence, illegal activity, or disruptive behavior which is detrimental to the safety and welfare of other students
    • Are obscene, profane, vulgar, lewd, or legally libelous
    • Threaten the safety or welfare of any person
    • Otherwise disrupt the teaching-learning process

Many think that Mead’s dress code is much too strict. But as said by Joaquin Diaz (’23), “[Mead] still [has] rules, but they are not so strict that [no one] can enjoy it.”

When you find the perfect balance between dress codes and freedom of expression (as said by Diaz) everyone will still be able to enjoy it.

But, what do you think? Are uniforms and dress codes really that bad? Should MHS follow in the path of 1/5 other U.S. high schools?