Is the Totino-Grace Dress Code too Strict?

Anne Thompson, Editor

I’m sure most of you girls have been there. Attempting to pull your dresses and skirts down just an inch more as you walk into the front doors of school, or snaking through the back halls so the slim chance you get away with your exposed shoulders increases. Even with all the tactics in which female students go about trying to wear what they feel comfortable in, they always fall just a little short due to dress code violations. So the real question is, is the TG dress code too extreme and causing more harm than good?

It’s safe to say that on the rare occasions students are granted out of uniform days wanting to dress scandalous or inappropriate is the last thing on their minds. In an interview with Senior Autumn Johnson, she expresses her strong opinion on the unnecessary strictness of the dress code. “To me the point of out of uniform days are for students to express themselves with their clothing and to be allowed to wear what they like. Students should stay within the guidelines of neat, clean, and modest, but it seems as if girls are held more accountable”.

It is clear that the dress code is more directed towards females rather than males. As a female can be sent out of class for her clothing until a parent can bring her a change of clothes. Is keeping girls out of class for their clothing giving males an advantage towards learning? According to Jeff Ferguson, the Totino-Grace Dean of Students, this is not seen as an issue. “Your punishment should fit the crime. You knew the consequences leading into your decision. What we are asking is reasonable”. However, for many high school girls dress code is seen as discriminative and an impediment of their freedom. Autumn believes girls get the short end of the stick when it comes to their apparel. “Girls are put under more pressure of what they are told they can or cannot wear, whereas boys will be allowed to wear clothing such as shorts in the winter”.  

It is understandable that there are guidelines in a school setting for what is appropriate to wear to school. But is getting out rulers to measure clothing length and embarrassing girls by forcing them to cover up their shoulders because it is seen as distracting really benefitting anyone at all? According to Ferguson, the overall goal is “to serve the students and that the values of neat, clean, and modest are attainable without pain.” It is important to dress within means, but how are students supposed to be prepared for the real world if during their time in high school they were instructed meticulously on what they cannot wear?


Catherine Kraft (12) and Brittany Rushmeyer (12) strolling the halls on an out of uniform day