Change the ripped jeans policy

The dress code has an illogical and unfair rule about ripped jeans. It should be changed immediately.

One constant at MacArthur, and probably every other school, is that students get punished for breaking dress code rules.  Imagine walking through the school and a teacher looking at your ripped jeans. He/she then proceeds to say, “Have you been dress coded yet?”  If you have not received a consequence yet, you know what is about to come. If you have, it is a traumatic reminder that you have already been punished.

There are four punishments students receive for breaking the dress code.  The first one is a simple warning with a parent notification. The second one is a campus clean-up.  At the third consequence, things start getting bad. The third consequence is a 30-minute detention that escalates to a 60-minute detention with the fourth.

The dress code, or any set of rules, is only fair if it is consistently and logically applied.  If rules are to be followed, students must value them. When a rule is unfair, specifically ripped jeans in our case, students then feel as though they are being targeted. No school rule should feel like a trap. Our administration should change the ripped jeans policy. 

On page four of the Student Handbook, the rule reads that “Pants must fit, can not be oversized and must be hemmed.”  Additionally, the rule reads, “Clothing must be free from tears, rips, holes, etc.”

The opening part of the rule seems to make sense.  Students should wear clothing that fits, pants are not too long to create a tripping hazard, or too baggy so they might fall off altogether.

Why is wearing ripped jeans so bad?  There are plenty of allowable clothes that reveal the same parts of the body as ripped jeans.  We are allowed to wear shorts and skirts that reveal a much larger percentage of the leg than ripped jeans.  Specifically, in P.E., we have to wear shorts that show half our leg. Why are the rules then worried about us showing a piece of skin through ripped fabric?

While some people believe that ripped jeans could reveal students’ underwear, having holes around the knee or below is not revealing anything that shorts or skirts also do.  Since we are allowed to wear shorts, and we must wear shorts in P.E. class, why would pants that reveal the legs be off-limits?

The ripped jeans policy should change. Since students wear shorts in P.E that reveals half of their legs, students should be able to wear ripped jeans where the holes reveal the same part of the leg that shorts, maybe even P.E. shorts already do.  That seems fair enough. 

When a student receives a consequence for the rule as it currently stands, it sends a confusing message. Wearing shorts? Fine. Wearing shorts in P.E.? A must!  But suddenly wearing pants that are less revealing than shorts is not allowed. 

The consequences can remain the same, parent contacts, detentions, or worse.  The rule just needs to be modified.

Also, this policy seems to unfairly target girls over boys.  Ripped jeans are in style for girls. They wear them more than boys.  However, the rules should not target one gender over another.

Clearly, if we are going to keep rules that address legitimate concerns, the ripped jeans policy must be revisited and amended.