A student is stopped in the hallway and her black and white striped socks are pointed out by a teacher. Socks that are not one solid color are considered to be patterned and therefore, in violation of Mercy’s dress code. So, the student is issued a JUG, equating to one hour of detention, a reminder that she has failed to follow the school rules.
Mercy’s dress code should be less strict in its policies requiring students to adhere to unnecessary regulations that have no effect whatsoever on their academic performance, school environment, or fellow peers. Dress code regulations such as prohibiting patterned socks or layering gray shirts under the uniform blouse are unnecessary and serve no purpose besides limiting student choice in clothing. It is important for schools to have rules for students to follow, but rules limiting student attire are outdated and do nothing to improve student well-being or academics.
That’s why the new policies allowing black long sleeve shirts to be worn under the uniform polo and the addition of fun sock Friday are steps in an important direction: personal expression. Society puts pressure on young girls to follow the ‘rules’ or stereotypes of a typical teenager, and although girls are told not to follow these stereotypes, the school’s restrictive policies reinforce this idea. With guidelines as to the way students dress and the punishment that follows disobedience, the rules at school do the same thing that society does: tell young girls what to do.
School rules concerning behavior and academics should be enforced, but a multitude of rules that suppress individuality in students should be less important and less enforced for students. With the addition of the black shirt rule and fun sock Friday, students are encouraged to express themselves and their unique personalities.