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When specific becomes problematic: What’s an appropriate dress code for K-12 students?

Teens in school hallway.
Teens in school hallway.
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Alameda Unified School District approved a new almost unrestricted dress code for the 2018-2019 school year.

Spaghetti straps, frayed shorts and even pajamas are fair game — as long as it “covers specific body parts (genitals, buttocks, and areolae/nipples) with opaque material,” it’s allowed.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Alameda is part of a larger trend of schools changing dress codes, especially those that students see as targeting girls or as so vague as to be arbitrary.

Alameda’s new dress code follows a model created by the Oregon chapter from the National Organization for Women. The organization has said that it’s trying to counter the message that girls’ bodies must be policed in order to not distract male students.

What do you think is an appropriate dress code for students in elementary, middle and high school? How specific should these rules be, either in targeting clothing or gender? What current policies do you agree or disagree with?


Jill Tucker, education reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle; her recent article is “Alameda schools’ new dress code: Tube tops are in, shaming girls is out;” she tweets @jilltucker