Hey! Put a jacket on!

Students opinions flare as new dress code enforced


Haley Shock, Editor-in-Chief

As the new school year begins, students acclimate to new classes, new teachers, and a couple of updated rules. During summer break, the NAFC School Board updated the county-wide dress code, causing some exasperation among students and staff. 

“I have noticed an increase [of dress-coding] this year and I think that it is kind of pointless,” senior Abby Lewis said. “I understand that we need to follow the school rules, but people don’t consider being dress-coded as serious and something like suspension.”

The previous dress code was created in 2010. The current dress code, available in the 2022-2023 Student Handbook, states “Restricted items will include the following: … Tops without sleeves unless deemed appropriate by a building administrator and cover the stomach,” 

“I think we probably didn’t say a whole lot the first couple of days,”


Assistant Principal Jamie Crick said. “[It’s been] more just like Dr. Ginkins making reminders on the announcements ‘Hey check the dress code.’ but then once we got to maybe day three or four, we started saying ‘Hey do you have a jacket?’ or ‘Hey do you have a shirt?’ We’ve always done ‘Hey take your hood down.’ and ‘Hey take your hat off.’ that kind of stuff. So I think that has been ongoing probably as long as I’ve been in the office. Bellies have been reminders just I think this year it’s been more of ‘Hey do you have a jacket? Let’s cover your belly up.’”

Crick has been at NAHS for 19 years, six of which as an assistant principal. 

“There has always been a dress code and I think part of the reason that it has been rewritten, and if you go back a couple years the dress code would say that you can’t have hair color that’s unnatural or you couldn’t have piercings,” Crick said. “So if you had someone come in here with their nose pierced you’d have to ask them to take it out. It used to be super archaic but, does it really matter if someone has their nose pierced or does it really matter if someone has purple hair?”

Math teacher Jackie Dillon says that the dress code is less about preventing distractions in the classroom and is more to prepare students for life after high school.

“I think we need to stop looking at it as a distraction because that is not what I feel like it’s about,” Dillon said. “I feel like having some kind of guidelines of how you should dress in this setting is, in a small way, preparing you for your job. Just like everything else the school day does. With being on time, having due dates, those small skills that we don’t think about needing and we just assume your parents trained you on all of those things, but many parents don’t have dress guidelines. They let their kids wear whatever is trendy and that’s fine, it’s not a big deal. But school should be perceived as a time and place sort of thing.”

Lewis says she believes the dress code is more distracting than what the policy is trying to restrict.

“Every time a teacher looks at me for too long or an administrator looks at me I’m like ‘oh they’re gonna get me, here we go, here’s my record being soiled,’” Lewis said.

She says her fear is that after years of being a model student, all of her hard work and dedication will be for not if she gets dress-coded and it is put on her official record.

“Especially for upperclassmen who haven’t had the dress code enforced at all [in past years] and all of a sudden all of the clothes that they’ve been wearing for years will now get them dress-coded,” Lewis said. “They can’t exactly go out and buy a whole new wardrobe just to come to school. So you’re stuck with the same four outfits over and over again, or getting in trouble.”

Crick says she does not believe that it is very likely that the dress code will need to be enforced to the point of punishment being on students’ records.

“I can’t imagine that anyone would let the dress code go that far,” Crick said. “We’ve been here for three weeks and I don’t think any of us have had a situation where we had to take it past a conversation to remedy it. Never say never, anything could get that far, but most people are like ‘Ok, my bad’ and they know anyway that they’re going to wear the jacket over the cropped top and they know someone is probably going to say something to them and they just zip it up. That’s been our experience for the most part.”

Lewis says she thinks that the Dress Code is biased against girls.

“The dress code is 100 percent targeted towards girls,” Lewis said. “I’ve never seen a boy dress-coded in my entire time here. Or my entire time at any Floyd County school for that matter.”

Dillon agrees, she thinks that the current clothing trends have a big impact on the amount of girls being dress-coded versus the amount of guys.

“I think they tried really hard to word things so that it wasn’t targeted, and I’ve even tried to think through how things could be worded, but I think the hard part is that the trends right now gear towards girls,” Dillon said. “Like a boy the other day asked that if he wore a crop top to school would I dress code him and I said ‘yeah it specifically says I shouldn’t see your midriff’. I think that’s the unfortunate part of where we live that the trends they’re trying to say shouldn’t be in this professional setting and those are unfortunately geared towards girls.”

Crick says she thinks that some parts of the policy are unintentionally more targeted towards girls, but also believes some parts are unintentionally more targeted towards guys.

“The intent of the way the dress code is written is intended to be gender-neutral,” Crick said. “For example: excessive skin, usually guys don’t have on anything that shows excessive skin but I’ve asked a couple guys wearing deep-cut tank tops if I see that then I’ll ask them to put a jacket on or to put a t-shirt on like I would in any other situation that would be similar. I think that hats and hoods are gender-neutral but oftentimes it’s more male students that we’re talking to about the hats and hoods. It’s different, but I think equally we address those situations. 

The dress code states that ‘Clothing and jewelry which includes depictions or symbols of the following are prohibited: sex or sexual innuendo; lewd, vulgar, indecent, or plainly offensive speech, including profanity; alcohol, drugs, tobacco, or tobacco like products; …’. Lewis doesn’t think this part of the policy is enforced as it should be.

“I think [teachers and administrators] need to focus on how they’re enforcing it because there are policies that could be directed towards boys, like that they can’t wear vulgar t-shirts and stuff like that, but I’ve seen boys wear shirts with a woman in a bikini on it and nothing was said to him. But then a girl wears a tank top and she’s suddenly like a super-villain,” Lewis said.

Approximately 56 percent of elementary, middle and high schools across the country enforce a strict dress code according to a 2020 study by the National Center for Education Statistics, and that percentage is only increasing over the years.

“I think [dress-coding] is just unnecessary because nobody is going to change how they dress just to come to school,” Lewis said. “I know girls that have been dress-coded that walk around school like ‘Oh my god guys I got dress-coded’ and it’s more of a joke to them. It doesn’t matter because none of the students realistically care what someone else is wearing.”

Freshman Tomas Sandefer says he doesn’t care what other students wear.

“I don’t see any issues with the new dress code,” Sandefer said. “I see why people would care but I just wear what I’m comfortable in.”

Approximately 20 percent of public high schools across the country enforce a uniform. According to the Student Handbook, the decision of a required uniform comes down to the principal.

“[Enforcing a uniform] wouldn’t be ideal because uniforms are expensive but if it’s gonna get to the point where a boy and a girl can wear basically the same outfit and a girl will get dress-coded we might as well just have a uniform that’s approved by the school,” Lewis said.

Crick says that the conversation of a required uniform has not been discussed and she does not foresee it being discussed in the near future.