Updated dress code causes commotion


Ellie Sullivan and Allison Durham

New administration has updated the dress code for the start of the 2022-2023 school year. With stricter enforcement of the new rules, students are upset. 

Before becoming the high school principal, Stephen Cox was the assistant principal at Hudson High School. He brought the “7 inch” dress code with him as he changed schools because he believed that it was a good fit. 

“I just feel like there is appropriate attire for appropriate situations and circumstances, so that’s where we got the 7 inches from,” Cox said. “In my mind, that’s what seems appropriate.” 

 Parents and students have been angered by the strictness of enforcement during the first week back at school from summer vacations. A large number of female students were sent home to change on the second day of school because their shirt did not meet the 7 inches above the bended knee rule. 

“I wish there was a better way to do it,” Cox said. “It’s just one of those things at the beginning of the school year [that] you have to crack down on. If you don’t, then it’ll be really bad.”

While making the new dress code during the summer, Cox was adamant about it being consistent with little to no wiggle room available.

“We were debating on what we were going to do,” Cox said. “One person said, ‘well if it’s 7, kids are going to make it 8. Let’s make it 6, so you’ll give them 7,’ and I thought in my mind, ‘7 is 7, and 7 is not 7 1/2 , and if we make it 6, it’s going to be 6,’”

Push back has been received on both sides. Some parents have had concerns with the update stating that it is too inappropriate, and other parents have said they believe that the update is overly conservative. 

“We’ve had push back in both directions. Some people think that it’s too skimpy, and some people think that it’s too strict,” Cox said. “You can’t really do anything to make everyone happy.” 

Many of the students agree that the new dress code is unfair because some people have longer legs than others. Female students think it is easier for shorter students to wear leggings because 7 inches on them appears shorter on the thigh than it would be on a taller person. 

“Some schools do the fingertip rule, and people’s shoulders always tend to go up, and honestly some people have shorter arms,” Cox said. “It is impossible to make it perfect across the board.”

Many outraged students have attempted to find a solution to the problem that can be more fair for everyone. They came up with the idea to measure from the inseam rather than the bend of the knee. 

“The inseam is right where the crotch of your pants [is]. I think [measuring 7 inches from the inseam] would be extremely fair, but how do you measure that?” Cox said. “Even with Mrs Graff measuring, we just would not do that, so I have no idea how to even enforce that.”

Cox said that male students are not asked to go home and change because most of the time, they can just pull their shorts down. In most situations, when a female student is dress-coded because of their pants, they have no other option but to change what they are wearing.

“With guys, it’s an easier issue. Most of the time, they agree, nod their head, and fix it,” Cox said. “One thing that is starting to happen with guys is that they fix it, and then you see them 2 hours later and it’s back to the way it was.”

Cox argues against female students saying that their dress code is stricter than the male students dress code by pointing out the things that females are allowed to wear, but males are not.

“Girls can wear more things than guys can. Guys still can’t wear earrings or sleeveless shirts,” Cox said. “On paper, their dress code is more strict, but girls definitely break dresscode a lot more.” 

Students have argued that skinny jeans and joggers can appear tighter or more inappropriate than leggings. 

“Yoga pants and tights look like their name,” Cox said. “The material seems to be a little bit thinner than the joggers.” 

As a small county school, we tend to lean more on the conservative side of the spectrum. Our policies and rules reflect that. Some members of the school district have stated that we are out-dated in the way we run.

“Central Heights [is a] conservative community,” Cox said. “School rules usually mirror the type of community that you live in.”