Is one shoulder really that distracting?

Sophie+Yuska+wears+a+spaghetti+strap+top+while+her+jacket+bares+her+shoulder.

Evelyn Ward

Sophie Yuska wears a spaghetti strap top while her jacket bares her shoulder.

by Evelyn Ward, Reporter

School dress code has always been a hot topic for debate. Throughout the years, students have even protested dress code policy and enforcement in their schools. While some students at Linganore have first-hand experiences with being dress-coded, others are not even aware of everything the dress code entails. 

In fact, even staff at Linganore were not fully aware of everything on the dress code policy. 

Back in 2018, there was an incident at Frederick High School during which a principal came up behind student, Olivia Arrington, without saying a word and fixed her shirt to cover her bra strap. Now, this may not seem like a big deal to most people, but for Olivia, it was a big deal. It was very embarrassing and uncomfortable for her. This action started a chain of reactions from both students and parents in the county.

As a result of this incident, changes were instituted. This went as far as changing parts of the dress code making it mandatory for teachers to have the same dress code standard regardless of gender. 

Students at Linganore had their own opinions about how they would change the school dress code. Students discussed the need to make the rules clear and understandable to all.

“If schools are going to have strict dress codes, they should make it [the dress code policy] more known,” said Junior Travis Tyeryar. 

Sophomore Hanna Brittle agreed. She expressed that the rules can be confusing and limiting.

“I’d make the rules more open and understandable,” said Brittle.

Sophomore Robbie Blickenstaff wears his hood up during lunch, defying school dress code. (Evelyn Ward)

Some students reiterated the idea that the dress code should be less sexist.

Sophomore Nick Killway said he would change the guidelines around which the dress code is centered.

“[I would] make the rules more clear, [and] maybe a little less sexist,” said Killway.

According to students interviewed, clarity on the policy is  clearly the biggest issue. Second to this issue is how some believed it unfairly targeted girls. 

Linganore Principal Michael Dillman acknowledged that the school’s priority is having students come to school and learn. He explained that in order to balance students being able to address their identities, personalities and style, there are a lot of things that have to be factored into a dress code.

“We definitely don’t want people wearing things that are distracting, inappropriate, offensive, demeaning, degrading … we want to make sure we have some rules,” said Dillman.

Dillman also shed light on the issue with perceived double standards.

“We’ll often tell females they don’t want the real little, skinny strap tops and things like that, and then the boys have tank tops [that] are kinda similar where their whole side is exposed,” said Dillman.

These are some of the issues students point to when saying the dress code is sexist. 

Dillman also shared his thoughts on updating the dress code.

“The Linganore dress code policy is similar to counties around us, but we haven’t made any updates in 10-15 years. We need to have a dress code, but we also need to review it. [We need to] make sure it is reflective of what is happening in the times we are in,” said Dillman.

We need to have a dress code, but we also need to review it. [We need to] make sure it is reflective of what is happening in the times we are in”

— Michael Dillman

He also believes there should be exceptions for the right reasons, such as medical or religious reasons. He points to headgear as one example.

Dillman said that it is important to evaluate the dress code and the school system is doing so.

There are many ways students can get involved in these issues and make their voices heard, particularly on the perceptible double standard inherent in the current policy: write to the Board of Education, start a petition or speak to Linganore administration to voice an opinion.