The Pacific Times | The Only Student-Run News Website in Natomas

SPECIAL PROJECT: Our Controversial Dress Code

Dress Code Not Popular with NP3 Community

Results of The Pacific Times online survey about the school dress code.

By Maisha Mostafa 
Co-Editor | The Pacific Times 

More than half — 54.8% — of the NP3 community feels the school’s current dress code is “bad.”

That’s according to an online survey conducted by The Pacific Times.

Across the board, NP3 High students, parents, teachers, staff members expressed similar opinions regarding the dress code, its purpose and enforcement.

There are no restrictions on hoodies like senior Marcos Perez is seen wearing, but t-shirts must be affiliated with a college or university. Sophomore Nabia Ahmed’s outfit follows the dress code by covering both her shoulders and midriff.

According to the NP3 High School 2019-2020 Family Handbook, the purpose of the dress code is to promote professionalism. 

“The number one reason for a dress code is safety. Secondly, we want to hold our students to a higher expectation,” NP3 High dean Shawn McGuire said. “We have visitors on our campus everyday from the community and it is important to represent both yourself and your school positively and professionally.”

NP3 High has had a dress code since it first opened in 2008. The dress code is mandatory for all kindergarten through 12th grade students and bans clothing items such as ripped jeans, bare midriffs, and gang colors. 

“The original dress code came from a review of other schools’ dress codes,” said Melissa Mori, principal of NP3 High.

But the dress code has seen minor revisions over the past decade.

Previously, only “collared shirts for the boys (were allowed),” said More. “But we made revisions like plain black graphic tees in 2018.”

Most students say they have not violated or been disciplined for not following the dress code.

Survey participants’ most common complaint was how the dress code is enforced.

“There is no consistency between the male and female rules,” wrote one NP3 teacher. “Also, there is really no consistency in consequences and doesn’t apply across the board for all students.”

McGuire disagreed.

“The dress code is enforced consistently,” he said via email. “The issue is we may not see the students until later in the day (some students are good at hiding), but when we do see them, we will hold them accountable.”

What adds to this misconception, McGuire said, is that students, teachers and staff are not always aware of how school rules, such as the dress code, have been enforced.

“Many students complain that they see others wearing something out of dress code and nothing was done, however, they don’t know what conversations and steps that we might have had already with that student,” he explained.

For example, he said, there may be reasons a student had for being out of dress code such as a medical reason.

“…And there was communication between admin and parents that already took place,” McGuire said. “Again, the other students aren’t aware of that reason or conversation with parents so their assumption is that we are just allowing it to happen.”

A look at who responded to The Pacific Times online survey about the NP3 High dress code.

SURVEY SAYS

Out of the 124 responses, more than 86% were NP3 High Students, 11.4% were NP3 parents, and the remaining were split between NP3 teachers and staff members. 

The survey results show that the majority of NP3 community, especially students, believe the dress code to be bad and unfair.

Students who opposed the dress code argued that it was enforced unfairly and that comfort should be valued first, while those in favor argued that the dress code was reasonable.

“I would like to be able to wear more comfortable clothing rather than having to wear jeans everyday and having to consistently be very uncomfortable throughout school days,”one high schooler wrote.

“I think we should be able to wear anything we want as long as you aren’t half naked or wearing something offensive. I don’t seem the harm is people going to school in a graphic t-shirt and sweatpants. It really won’t distract anyone at all. I would hope that the current dress code is actually enforced more, before we start discussion on changing it,” another student commented.

While another added, “High school students are stressed enough and having to worry about being caught out of dress code for wanting to be comfortable at school is unfair.”

NP3 teachers and staff also mirrored opinions of students and parents that its not enforced consistently

“The NP3 dress code is bad because it is antiquated, not uniformly enforced, biased against fashion that is nontraditional, designed to fit an old school  approach to what is appropriate,” wrote one staff member. “For instance, the ripped jeans look is just a fad, but no more egregious than short sleeve shirts. What’s the problem with sports wear anyway? It would be nice to have some freedom of expression here at NP3.”

“There is no consistency between the male and female rules. Also, there is really no consistency in consequences and doesn’t apply across the board for all students, ” wrote one NP3 Teacher.

Most students say they follow the school dress code, even if they don’t like it.

PARENTS’ VIEWS

On the other hand, many parents support the school dress code.

“I appreciate that it helps staff identify non-students on campus. I also feel that it prepares kids for the workplace where they will be expected to dress in a professional and appropriate manner,” wrote another parent. 

While another parent commented,“I support the dress code because have to dress in a respectable manner.  The parents, teachers and students themselves don’t have to be distracted by inappropriate, (which could be risque, thuggish or their pants hanging down with their underwear hanging out) or boundary pushing attire.  You can’t usually detect what kids have rich parents and what kids have poor parents it helps to avoid that as another distraction. The kids have enough distractions to take them away from the real important things.”

While many parents supported the dress code, there were a few who had differing opinions.

“I like that the students are held to a higher standard of dress, however, I do think that the current dress code is restrictive. I agree that no ripped jeans, midriffs showing, no words related to drugs/violence/etc on clothing are appropriate rules to have,” one parent wrote. “On the other hand, I think the dress code should not be limited to just v necks or dress shirts. How about any modest shirt or t-shirt, can be worn? Why can’t sweat or sweat material be worn?” 

“So I have always thought it strange that the boys have to wear black or orange v-neck t-shirts with no graphics or collared shirts but can wear hoodies with graphics over them. I think allowing reg t-shirts plain in any color or with appropriate graphics is a better option,” another parent responded.

According to Mori, “We are mindful of changing styles and trends and can support new tweaks that are not distractions to the students.”

In My Opinion

By Zara Afridi
Co-Editor | The Pacific Times

Zara Afridi, senior

I believe the current school dress code for NP3 High is sufficient and morally good for us. It makes us be more professional, mature, and respective.

Our current dress code consists of wearing no joggers, leggings, ripped jeans, crop tops, tank tops, or graphic tees.

The dress code is the same for everyone, boys and girls.

The dress code has somewhat changed since I was at NP3 Middle School and High School.

Even though it has gotten more restrictive, I believe it’s sufficient for our learning environment.

Many students here at NP3 complain about not wearing what they want, such as sweats and ripped jeans.

NP3 is like a work readiness campus, so it prepares us for the real world where we have to dress more appropriately and professionally in the workplace.

I believe the things that everyone else wants to wear are not professional.

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