Opinion: The holes in Rangeview’s policy

Feature Photo By: Samir Mohammed – Senior Sophia Bambury and junior Francis Ntumy pose in the Rangeview commons. With the conclusion of the new ripped jean policy, students are going back to wearing jeans with slits in them.

By: Samir Mohammed, Review Staff

With the start of a new school year, the dawn of new fashion trends begins. Fashion is a large contribution to someone’s ability to self-express in today’s society. In many ways, it lets an individual express who they are – like their music preferences, favorite movie or shows, religion,  culture – as well as create individuality. In a recent trend to improve productivity and grades, education administration began labeling students, predominantly young women, as distracting to others on the basis of of their attire.

“My body is not a distraction” and “I am not a distraction,” have become a recent message cultivated by young women on social media who feel like they are being targeted far too often by policies that label the parts of their body as “distractions.” My personal experiences with administration and the dress code are limited. Because I am a male, it is quite unusual and rare for a staff member to find a male’s attire distracting.

Rangeview High School has received backlash from a recent implementation regarding ripped jeans infringing on the active school dress code. Upon further review, I was unsuccessful in finding an updated school handbook, both physically or digitally. On the Rangeview High School website, there is a link to the 2016-2017 handbook which is the most recent handbook published that states, “any attire determined by a staff member to be distracting to the academic environment or pupil behavior in or about the school will not be permitted regardless of current fashion trends.”

What is “distracting to the academic environment” at any high school? Is this based on the association adults have with a certain piece of clothing? Is this based on how much of a students back, shoulders, or legs are revealed? A commonly used method to determine “appropriate clothing” is the fingertip test. On many occasions, staff members will tell young women who wear shorts, skirts, and dresses that their attire must be as long as their fingertips when reaching straight down to their thigh.

A poster from freshman Kylie Hoy’s student leadership campaign run hangs on the wall. Student leadership elections concluded the week of January 26th.  (Samir Mohammed)

This method is completely ineffective and have led naive staff members to enforce a rule that is very unjust. Body proportions and lengths are different between everyone. For instance, if two students who were the same height and weight wore dresses, one students fingertips may reach three inches above her knee while student two’s fingers may be six or seven inches above the knee.

Everyone is different and unique and trying to conform an entire group based off of one test is ineffective and belittling to these young women.

“We develop and honor the curiosity of our students by uncovering their passion and motivation to learn in a fun and relevant environment, creating dynamic citizens who will strengthen their community and add to the narrative of Rangeview High School.”

This quote is the Rangeview purpose statement on their main page. No, students are not given a fun and relevant environment where they are able to add to the narrative of Rangeview High School because of the constraints against school attire.

Regarding the strict new rules being enforced on ripped jeans, senior Jonathan Ferguson stated, ”I feel like the dress code is unnecessary and they are taking away our creativity and expression. I don’t believe tears in my jeans are distracting from anyone’s education.”

Ferguson was recently suspended for wearing jeans that had holes in them to school. If the school administration’s goal is to raise grades and cause less distraction to learning, suspending students seems very counterproductive to me. Ferguson can not get assignments done and learn when he’s being sent home over something quite unavailing.

Another example of how the school’s new policy is infringing on student’s success and participation in class is from junior Jyoshni Park.

Park stated, “I lost 45 minutes of class for being dress coded. I was sent home unexcused to change pants because of slits in my jeans. It’s ironic the staff wants us to focus on our education but they are taking away our learning time and experience.”

In today’s society, norms and pressure attempt to conform individuals to eradicate authenticity and disregard self expression. Although there are some extreme fashion trends that would best be worn outside of school and work, I have to say don’t be afraid to express yourself. When you dress in a way that reveals your personality and embraces who you really are, you will discover how to be content in your own skin.

If off-the-top shirts and slits in your jeans make you feel confident and comfortable, please do it!

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