Im hyped to see everyone is off da shoulder today pic.twitter.com/CDtOyapieR— . (@ocean__avenue_) August 14, 2017
School dress code violations have long been a source of conversation. In recent years, more and more girls have come forward to express their disappointment and confusion in being targeted for clothes that administrations deem “inappropriate,” according to rules put in place years ago.
On their first day of school at San Benito High School in Hollister, California, dozens of girls were called to the office. Their “violation” was wearing off-the-shoulder tops. You know, the ones that everyone’s been wearing all year with zero issue until now!
According to a statement by the school’s principal Adrian Ramirez to Yahoo! News, the dress code policy outlines that banned items include “strapless shirts or tube-tops,” which also includes off-the-shoulder tops. He explained that it’s nothing new, and that the rule has been in place for many years despite students claiming it’s a new thing.
#NewProfilePic pic.twitter.com/pMq8uTdtZm— Andrei 3000 (@andrei_418) August 15, 2017
On the other hand, one 16-year-old student who spoke to Yahoo! News via Twitter and who chose to stay anonymous said that she has regularly worn off-the-shoulder tops “and it was okay and it would be the same with a lot of the other girls.” Hence her surprise when she saw 50 girls and two boys in the administrative office on the first day of school for dress code violations.
“It’s not harming anyone physically… I think it’s ridiculous how we have to fight against [the administration] to wear a shirt that is not harming anyone.” She continued to say that the “administration says that it is for our own safety, but I don’t understand what they are keeping us safe from. I really don’t think that there is someone dumb enough to pull down a shirt first of all- they have no right to touch me or anyone else at all. I mean, there is no point in that. They are focusing on the less important things here.”
Another noticeable factor? Girls have been wearing black, off-the-shoulder “tops” for their senior graduation photos for decades, and it’s never been a problem.
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#WCE #SeniorYearbookPic #Senior2017 😍
Students have found the policy so irrelevant, that male students are also protesting by wearing off-the-shoulder tops in solidarity with their female classmates.
Shoutout to Brody and Adryan for supporting our protest pic.twitter.com/abkC5pJsQU— . (@ocean__avenue_) August 15, 2017
Ramirez told Yahoo! News that the policy has nothing to do with boys getting “distracted” by girls’ shoulders, and that if it was, he too, would disagree with it.
“[...] that’s definitely not it at all. And they felt offended by that, and I completely agree that, if that was our stance, I would be offended too,” he said. “[...] Whether you are a male or female student, it’s your own responsibility not to be distracted, regardless of your gender.”
Moving forward, Ramirez will address the policy at next week’s faculty meeting and educate the staff on “the latest trends in clothing” so that they have “a consistent message” about the dress code, Yahoo! News reports. He reportedly also had a meeting on August 17 with the Associated Student Body Group in order to form a committee of students “to start a conversation regarding dress code.”
Thankfully, the school seems to be listening, so it’s encouraging to see that they’re at least a little open-minded. It’s time we got rid of archaic dress codes once and for all, and San Benito High School seems like the perfect place to start.
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