This school year, Sacred Heart Cathedral’s dress code has become much more rigid, mainly due to a desire for more campus safety. Although dress codes restrict self-expression and may be interpreted as violating our First Amendment right to freedom of speech, they keep us safe and demonstrate a resounding sense of unity within our school community.
A dress code makes identifying students much easier for teachers and faculty– creating an environment where students may feel safe to learn and teachers safe to teach– essential due to the dangers in the world among us. As dangerous as it sounds, if our school were to have no dress code, anyone could pretend to be a student and enter with malicious intentions, a much bigger issue than one’s grief over the dress code.
Our dress code applies to both genders, without favoring one gender over the other. The sole purpose of the dress code is to evoke a sense of unity and restrict inappropriate garments. If one thinks about it, a dress code at school could be compared to what one would wear to a job interview. For example, it would be highly inappropriate to wear sweats or a crop top to an interview. So why should one want to wear these types of clothing to school? Most high school students are “interviewing for the future”– attempting to be admitted to the college of our dreams. We should take our long term “interview” seriously by “dressing for success.”
Another purpose of the dress code is to elicit a sense of unity and equality among all students. When everyone must wear the same clothes, there are few situations by which one may be humiliated due to their attire. Our dress code also creates an environment where one’s financial status is not outwardly displayed. Without a dress code, students with expensive clothing would evidently feel empowered, causing other pupils to feel inferior. The whole system would be corrupt, creating an artificial class barrier among students for nefarious reasons. SHC’s dress code was designed to avoid this, giving everyone an opportunity to learn and participate freely without regard to one’s financial status.
Although a dress code may suppress our perceived First Amendment rights, the positive effects of a dress code vastly outweigh the negatives, proving this argument to be weak. When one chooses to attend a Catholic high school, they are agreeing to the rules of the institution, including the dress code. In addition, students don’t have to follow these regulations on the weekends; they can choose to express themselves through clothing in any way they desire. One shouldn’t feel as if they can only express themselves by wearing a certain outfit, instead they should express themselves using their voice and showing off their minds– not by their expensive clothing. Our world could use a lot more people who can be confident in their own opinions and use their voice to achieve systematic change, without needing a shield of hot pink crop tops, baggy sweats, or purple hair.