The first week of school always brings about nerves and butterflies, usually about finding classes, hoping friends are in the same lunch or seeing crushes in the hallway for the first time in a year.
This time around, students’ nerves are centered around the overarching enforcement of the Webster Groves High School’s dress code, which has been more highlighted this past week than in several years as students begin to take action.
Webster Groves High School’s dress code states, “Tops should completely cover the abdomen and should cover the upper body in a way that is consistent with an academic setting.”
According to the student handbook, consequences for violating the dress code are “Consequences: attire that is not in compliance with this dress code will be addressed with the student in private and the student will be given an opportunity to correct the issue. Parents/guardians will be called. Consequences may also include confiscation of the item (hat, unsafe jewelry etc.), detention, or in cases of more serious or chronic issues the student may be given in-school intervention center, or suspended out of school.”
Students are going against the dress code because they want to challenge what is deemed respectful in a school setting
Senior Bridget Moehlman took the first in a series of steps to bring attention to the school’s dress code and ways of enforcing it. Moehlman created an online petition on the website Change.org, which collected over 1,000 signatures in the span of two days, and it still continues to grow.
“I started the petition because I felt like the dress code wasn’t fair and sexualized women’s bodies. Male staff members asking females to pull their shirts down or their shorts up makes females feel uncomfortable. My crop top or midriff should not be distracting and a reason to get dress-coded,” Moehlman said.
If a student is “dress-coded,” it means that a correction must be made to the student’s clothes, and that they do not meet the requirements of the school’s dress code.
Students followed Moehlman’s footsteps in creating stickers, cropped shirts and social media posts with the phrases, “I am not a distraction” and “Demolish the dress code.” Arguments among parents also arose on social media platforms.
About 100 students of all genders demonstrated outside Roberts Gym on Aug. 27, to show support for the movement by all wearing cropped shirts that showed their “Midriff.” Not all students who participated found themselves dress-coded, only a select few, pointing out the inconsistencies of the policy.
Dr. Matt Irvin, WGHS principal, doesn’t believe the dress code is being more heavily enforced than any other issue this school year.
“I don’t think I would concede to that premise, being in school, as opposed to being virtual, and the ebb and flow of attires have probably shifted a bit as well,” Irvin said. He has set up meetings with students, including Moehlman, to better address the concern.
“I won’t say I am a part of every conversation. I know it certainly got our attention when there was an action taken by some students to draw attention to it,” Irvin said.
See Also: Dress code poll
See Also: Op-ed: Dress code is discriminatory
This will be Ava Musgraves’ first year on ECHO staff, but she made several contributions while taking journalism class her sophomore year.
This will be Jackson Parks’ first year on ECHO staff, but he made several contributions while taking journalism class his sophomore year.