The Dress Code Conundrum

Tony Peng '20, Staff Writer

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When people picture the common University School student, the first thing that comes to mind is a boy dressed in khakis, a dress shirt, a tie, and dress shoes. Our school dress code is one thing that supposedly helps to keep us all closer as one, cohesive community. The idea makes sense; if we are all dressed the same, we should relate to each other more and therefore be more inclined to associate ourselves with each other. Additionally, it presents students as clean and well put together, improving the overall image of the US student. However, the reality of our dress code may not necessarily line up with that idea.

During school hours, you can often see someone without a belt, maybe a few people wearing tennis shoes, and a bunch of people with their shirts untucked. Many times, students will get away with these violations of the dress code; however, there are some teachers that heavily enforce the dress code and are not afraid to criticize such violations. One example that everyone is familiar with is Dr. Daughtrey.

“Shirt-tail.”

“Tuck your shirt in.”

These are just a few of his famous quotes. It is very evident that Dr. Daughtrey values the code and enforces it as such. Nevertheless, there are many other teachers that do not enforce the dress code with such strictness. In fact, some teachers do not seemingly care for the dress code at all. Students will put on hoodies and coats when with one teacher and take them off as soon as they have to go to their next class.

Many of you reading this may be thinking, “What’s the issue?” The issue with such loose and inconsistent enforcement of the dress code is that it teaches students to be deceptive and to exploit others whenever they can. If you can get away with being comfortable, why would you? Additionally, all the other people who do follow the dress code start to almost feel cheated in a way. Why should they have to follow the dress code when other people don’t without any consequences? There is an incentive to flaunt the dress code; one can be as comfortable as they want without any sort of negative consequences.

There are only two ways to address such a problem; US can either force the dress code very strictly upon students, or it can loosen up, or even deal away with the dress code. While cracking down on the dress code may seem like a quick way to fix all of these problems, it will only make it worse. Again, the problem is with the lack of consistency for enforcement, not just a lack of enforcement itself. Because there will always be teachers that impose the dress differently and less strictly than others, a tighter imposition will do nothing but perpetuate the problems it was trying to solve.

As such, the only real way to solve this problem is to either loosen or eliminate the dress code at US. This is the way to stop the cycle of deception, exploitation, and inconsistency. This may be hard for the administration to accept as it would destroy the US stereotype of the put-together US boy, but it would stop students from taking advantage of the adults in this school. By sacrificing this superficial image, US no longer promotes exploitation and manipulation of teachers.