New school year brings new dress code for high school students


Students of Fairmont adapt to the new dress code for the 2018-19 school year. The items they can and cannot wear are much different than in previous years.

By Kaylee Anstaett, Fairmont Life Editor

Dress codes have the reputation of being geared towards females. Exposed shoulders, short shorts and spaghetti straps were never allowed; however, this is no longer the case at Fairmont.  

As students geared up for the 2018-19 school year, rumors circulated that the dress code changed. The Student Handbook is as follows:

“Kettering Fairmont High School is a place of work for the adults and preparation for college/career for the students. We are dedicated to creating a campus where teaching and learning will occur within a professional environment. Therefore, these professional expectations will be followed to maximize the learning environment and safety conditions at the high school:

  1. Clothing and accessories will be without vulgar, suggestive, and/or offensive elements.
  2. Clothing and accessories will be without the promotion of alcohol, tobacco, weapons, drugs, and/or gang related affiliations/symbols.
  3. Clothing and accessories will be respectful to ethnic, cultural, gender, sexual, political, or religious differences.
  4. Clothing must cover the chest, stomach, back, buttocks, and undergarments.
  5. During school hours, students will remain free of wearing hats and hoods in the building. Only religious, culturally specific, and/or medically necessitated head coverings are permitted.
  6. Shoes must be worn at all times.
  7. Clothing and accessories must avoid the appearance of “costumes”.

Students wearing apparel that does not meet the above professional expectations will be asked to change, turn the item inside out, etc. If a student persists in violating the student dress code, a discipline referral may be written. It is understood that not all unacceptable attire can be listed or described here. Therefore, the final decision regarding the professionalism of clothing and accessories will be made by the building administration.”

Central Unit Principal Andrew White is in charge of revising the dress code each year. The new dress code has stirred up a lot of questions in the first six weeks of school, as students and staff alike both adjust to the changes. 

“I think the new dress code was a compilation of things. I think there was a desire by the administration, staff and the student government. We wanted to have a way to consistently enforce dress code,” White said.

Many students last year felt that the dress code was sexist, since most of the rules were aimed towards females. Administration recognized the frustration and felt that there needed to be a change.

Last year, Fairmont focused on implementing more of a positive atmosphere through the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) approach. White noticed that the former dress code was not very consistent with the language that was now being used and enforced throughout the building. 

“With the influence of positive culture, we started looking at the dress code. We looked at the handbook and the dress code rules. We thought that some of the wording was geared towards females and that could be considered unfair,” White said.

In order to revise the dress code, a committee consisting of teachers, administrators, support staff and at least two students was formed. Although White is in charge of the handbook each year, there are a lot of other steps to the process. 

“The handbook goes through a couple of screenings. It goes through the building screenings of administrators, student services and then the district lawyers to make sure we are legal,” White said.

With the new trends each year, specifically female fashion styles, the school grappled with the inconsistencies of guidelines and expectations with what it’s students see on a daily basis out in the community, in their work places and at home.

“Shorts and tops have new styles now. It’s taken the burden off of us trying to enforce something that maybe didn’t match the community standards,” White said.

Discussion each year seems to be focused on how students attire impacts learning. Fairmont strives to provide a professional environment, conducive to learning so that students have a a positive and successful experience while here.

“We asked ourselves the question, ‘does it impact learning? Does a female that wears a dress that’s off the shoulders impact the learning of other females, males or the teachers ability to teach?’” White said.

Teachers also have a dress code that they have to follow.

“Teachers have general guidelines. Students would bring up to me ‘you aren’t allowing me to have my shoulders uncovered, but that teacher right there is wearing a dress,’” White said.

The new dress code makes the rules a little more equal for the students and the staff.

“Teachers have a little more latitude than students. Not everything is going to be equal and we don’t have to make things unnecessarily different,” White said.

The main guidelines this year stresses that a student must cover his or her back, rear-end, stomach and chest.

While the transition seems to be smooth thus far, some students still wonder why hats are not allowed. The reasoning behind this is that hats present security issues. An individual’s head and or face cannot be covered, as school administration cannot accurately identify students on security camera footage or in pictures.

Fairmont’s Career Tech Center principal Liz Jensen was a strong enforcer of the previous dress code. Jensen stated that with the new dress code, she finds herself enforcing it differently and addressing different types of concerns. 

“I think the new dress code is a good thing because our former dress code was definitely slanted toward females,” Jensen said.

Senior Ally Hesse is 5 feet 10 inches tall. She felt that the old dress code was unfair, particularly for taller female students who may have longer legs and longer arms. 

“Since I’m a tall person and have long arms, it makes it hard to find shorts that are long enough,” Hesse said.

The new dress code may have different wording and a new focus, but the overall consensus seems to be a positive one thus far. Many students have stressed that shopping for school clothes is easier and the stress brought on by what to wear each morning has been lightened. 

School is a student’s workplace and should be treated as a professional type environment, hence the focus on attire and what is and isn’t appropriate to wear while at work.

“I’m happy that the new dress code allows tank tops. I’m also really happy that students aren’t allowed to wear extremely short shorts,” Hesse said.