Are School Dress Codes Getting Out of Hand?

Who, besides me, thinks that school dress codes have seriously gotten out of hand in recent years?  We recently moved from Illinois to Texas and I’m finding the new dress code seriously ridiculous.  I literally had to buy an entire new wardrobe for my daughter because NOTHING was suitable for her to wear.  I’m including the school’s dress code here (my commentaries are in italics and bolded).  I’m leaving it as the original dress code without corrections to show that this is the same school that is teaching our children English.  I did remove the name of the school to protect the “innocent”.


Picture borrowed from  Copyright remains that of the original owner.

Students and parents may determine a student’s personal dress and grooming standards, provided that they comply with the following:

• Clothing that refers to alcoholic beverages, tobacco, drugs, sex, skulls, skeletons or other suggestive, derogatory or controversial designs are not allowed.

I get this to an extent.  You don’t want to promote the use of alcohol or drugs of any kind.  But skulls and skeletons?  Seriously?  There goes my son’s t-shirts.

• Startling, unusual, or immodest attire shall not be permitted. This includes fads in hairdos, clothing, or anything designed to attract attention to the individual: for example, [School Name Here] specifically prohibits students with hair and weaves colored or dyed hues that do not occur in any natural human hair.

“Anything designed to attract attention to the individual.”  Isn’t that what most clothing is designed to do?  Aren’t you supposed to look good in what you wear, therefore resulting in attracting the attention of at least SOME individuals?

• Hair – No colors that are not naturally occurring will be permitted which shall include weaves and/or feathering. No Mohawks, hair cuts that are tapered, shaving of names, designs, signs, symbols or abnormal/uncommon styles and patterns will be permitted.

Do they even know what a tapered haircut is?  Johnny Depp has a tapered haircut.  What is wrong with his hair?

• No student shall wear a bandanna.

I guess this eliminates cowboys robbing banks…

• No student shall wear a do/rag or skull cap.

I’m okay with this one.  I hate those damn things.

• No student may wear pajamas.

Why on earth do we need to tell children that that cannot wear pajamas to school?

• Students must be clean and free from odors.

I guess this eliminates most children going through puberty from attending school.

• Only medically prescribed sun glasses will be worn in school.

Why are kids wearing sunglasses IN school?  Medically prescribed or not.

• Hats, caps, and / or hoods on shirts are not to be worn inside the building.

This is simple manners.  Parents should be teaching their children to always remove their hats upon entering a building.

• No student shall wear a mouth and / or teeth grille.

Yeah, I’m okay with this one.  Gross!

• Students shall wear clothes and other fashions the way they are intended to be worn.

I guess no wearing that skirt as a shirt anymore.

• Pants must cover the entire knee, or they will be classified a “short”. A split skirt is considered a short.

Makes sense.

• Students may not wear shorts to school, except in physical education class or band class.

Okay, here’s where I have a problem.  We live in TEXAS.  The first month of school alone had an average temperature of 100 degrees.  Why can’t the kids wear shorts?  Just tell them that the shorts must be a certain length.  I mean, no, they shouldn’t be wearing Daisy Dukes to school, but give them a break and let them wear something shorter than full-length pants!

• Shoes or footwear must be worn. No house shoes or “heelys” (heelies) are allowed.

Once again, why do we have to tell kids to not wear slippers to school?

• Jeans with holes will not be permitted. Rips, tears or holes must be patched or sewn.

I used to wear ripped jeans all the time.  I’m not sure why this is a necessary rule.  Unless the holes are in inappropriate places.

• Students are expected to keep pants and shorts (in P.E. or Band classes) at the waistline. After the first warning for sagging pants or shorts, a student who continues to violate the code will be required to wear a belt.


• Top clothing items with a bottom hem longer than the finger tips of the wearer must be tucked in. To determine the length of a top by the “finger tip rule”, the wearer will be asked to rest his or her arms to the sides of his or her torso with finger tips extended.

This is just a ridiculous rule.  Plenty of shirts are not intended to be tucked in, but are longer than the fingertips of the wearer.  Why is this a rule?

• Body pierced ornaments or the like are not permitted (the exception being that girls may wear earrings).

I’m okay with the body-piercing thing.  Personally, I don’t think teenagers should be allowed to have them.  However, it is gender discrimination to say that only girls may be allowed to wear earrings.

• No student shall wear any garment, piece of garment, an ornament, piece of jewelry, or the like which advertises, promotes, represents, names, or depicts the following:

  • Violence, including but not limited to, guns, blood, skulls, bones, gangs, money, etc.

How is money depicting violence?

  • A type of music of any kind or creation

So, you can’t even wear a Beethoven shirt?  Isn’t this a bit extreme?  This is where my daughter ran into problems, since about 90% of her clothing was music related.

  • The name or professional pseudonym of any vocalist, composer, singer, rapper or the like

See my note above.

  • The name or entity title of an ensemble or group of musicians

See my note above.

  • (The exception would be clothing or garments which are related to cocurricular or extra-curricular organizations approved by the [School Name Here]).

• For all students, the top opening of the shirt or the like around the neck will be no lower than two inches below the clavicle or collarbone.

Okay, we ran into problems here with my daughter.  Basically, because of this rule, the only shirts she could wear are crew neck styles.  Meaning, no v-necks, no scoop necks, etc.  This is insane.  What is the problem with these types of shirts?  I can understand that you don’t want the neck to plunge down to the middle of the chest, but can’t they be a little more realistic in their decision-making.  Shopping is almost impossible with these rules!

• Tops for all students must be long enough to insure the hems of the top and bottom clothing items do not separate, resulting in an exposed midriff. The skin of the midtorso must never be exposed, even under the circumstances of bending, stooping, sitting, or raising the arms.

A little prudish, but I guess I can understand their desire here.

• Wearing clothing which is the same color or carries the same message by several students may be stopped by the school principal so that no misunderstanding or ambiguity would occur symbolizing a “group” that would be controlling or intimidating to others.

What if everybody just happened to wear black one day?

• The principal shall have the final rule on anything the principal deems of objectionable character.

• BOYS:  (Please note that the boys’ section is MUCH shorter than the girls’.)

• Shirts must have sleeves and be properly buttoned. Shimmel (cut-off) t-shirts and fish-net shirts are not permitted, unless worn as a layered look.

I’m okay with this one except that, as noted below, girls can wear sleeveless garments, why can’t the boys?

• Hair and facial hair should be clean, combed, and well-groomed. Boys may not wear any objects in or on their hair, ears, or noses, the exception being that boys may have a rubber band (and only a rubber band) in their hair to pull their hair back into a pony tail.

Aw!  I guess the boys can’t wear those pretty barrettes that they love so much!

• The wearing of earrings or anything in ears will not be permitted.

As noted before, this is gender discrimination.  A boy can have a ponytail, but he can’t wear an earring?  Seriously?

• Clothing will be worn in the manner it was intended to be worn.


• Low cut and strapless dresses are not to be worn, especially since all tops must conform to the two (2) inch rule for tops below the clavicle or collarbone.

I’m somewhat okay with this rule except for their idiotic definition of “low-cut”.

• Styles which have tops that are designed to be worn off one shoulder or both are not to be worn in that fashion.

Eh, I guess I’m okay with this, but really, it’s a bit ridiculous.  I mean, they say these things because they don’t want the boys to be distracted by the girls, but they are going to be distracted no matter what the girls are wearing.

• Must wear sufficient undergarments.

Um, seriously?  Why does this need to be a rule?  Why is this not common sense?  And why isn’t this a rule for the boys as well?  Do they not need to wear sufficient undergarments?

• Sleeveless garments may be worn as long as they are sufficiently fitted to prevent the exposure of undergarments or skin.

Um, first, how can a sleeveless garment prevent exposure of skin?  Please explain that one to me.  Second, why can girls wear sleeveless garments but not boys?

• It is unacceptable to wear bare back dresses or bare back top clothing items (tops should not show the shoulder blades in back as do “racer backs”); all tops must have at least a one inch strap

I’m actually okay with this one.

• It is unacceptable to wear sheer garments, halter garments, shimmel shirts or fishnet/mesh shirts unless as a layered look with garments underneath that meet the acceptable dress criteria of this code.

Shouldn’t even need to be a rule, really.  No parent should EVER let their child go to school in any of the above.

• It is unacceptable to wear dresses and skirts at a length not appropriate for sitting or bending in a modest fashion. A general rule will be that a skirt that is not more than two (2) inches above the knee is acceptable. A skirt slit will be considered the hem of the skirt. The principal or assistant principal will be the sole judges of a skirt judged to be too short for wearing to school. The principal may allow dress code leniency to certain student groups in situations such as, but not limited to, the prom, certain annual days such as masquerade day, and days of varsity football games.

This is all right.  I don’t have any complaints here.

• Bikers’ shorts/tights may be worn under a skirt if the shorts/tights do not protrude below the hem on the skirt. The skirt must be of proper length by school standards.

This makes no sense.  Do they even know the definition of “tights”?

• Long spandex tights/stirrup pants/leggings, or the like, may be worn if they are not sheer or immodestly tight. Sheer or immodestly tight stirrup pants/spandex tights/leggings, or the like, may be worn under a skirt or lengthy blouse ensemble as long as the blouse does not exceed the “finger tip rule” and or the skirt is an acceptable skirt.

Honestly, if you really wanted to be picky, THIS is the one thing I would not allow.  However, since the 80’s are over, I’m pretty certain this isn’t even a real issue.

• No hair curlers shall be permitted

Seriously?  Why does this need to be a rule?  Isn’t this common sense?


In closing, I understand that schools need dress codes, but some of them take it to a ridiculous extreme.  Like the one shown above.  I think we have two options.  OPTION 1:  Schools should tell students that they can only wear plain white shirts and plain black slacks or skirts.  OPTION 2:  Apply realism to your dress codes and take out all the stupid crap that means absolutely nothing in the real world.  A child has only one chance to be free to be creative with the image of themselves before the corporate world gets ahold of them and turns them into mindless slaves.  That doesn’t mean we should let them go wild, but I think we should cut them some slack.


I would also like to note that the dress code has a dedicated four pages whereas bullying only receives one page.  It really tells you where their priorities are.  (Also, to note, this school has had four teenage boys commit suicide in the past year.)


I am a 43-year-old, single mom of 19-year-old boy/girl twins living in an extremely small town in rural Texas. Currently, I am employed as a Site Supervisor for a prominent corporation that provides security officers for homes and businesses.

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