Your body is not school appropriate

School dress codes disproportionately target young women, causing discomfort. Photo by Chen Feng

BY ELLA SHAND and TORI STIEGMAN

You wake up in the morning and decide that today is the day to break out your new tank top. You go to school, expecting nothing but compliments, but while you are sitting in math class your bra straps decides to slide down your shoulder. No big deal, right?

Wrong; to your teacher it is. They immediately stop the class to call you out for your heinous wardrobe malfunction and send you to the office.

This is what is happening to girls all over the country — they are being called out for wearing “school-inappropriate” outfits.

But it is not just the classic sheer top or clear shorts. An “emerging hole” in a pair of jeans, or simply wearing a crew neck to school could land you in the office.

But the misery of these “violations” doesn’t stop at calling students down to the office and giving them a detention. Many times the administrations of these schools have acted in a way that makes students feel violated and uncomfortable.

Kelsey Anderson, a 17 year old student at Joplin high School in Missouri, was wearing a red, long sleeve shirt with lacing when she was sent out of class at her high school repeatedly for a violation of the dress code. Her offense: being “plus sized” and “busty.” Having something like this said in front of all her peers made her feel mortified, especially because it came from her teacher, of all people.

Other absurd body-shaming accounts have been appearing in high schools around the country. A high school principal in South Carolina ruled that students couldn’t wear leggings “unless you are a size 0 or 2.” A junior at Braden River High School in Bradenton, Fl. was sent to the office because she wasn’t wearing a bra, and was forced to place bandages over her nipples.

By sending the message that if female students don’t look a certain way they are distracting and inappropriate, these educational professionals are not only condemning student’s natural bodies and making students uncomfortable in a supposedly “safe space,” they are also placing more importance on “dress-coding” rather than the slightly more important topic: their education.

Imagine trying to learn in an environment where you are constantly made to feel self conscious about the way you look, or how others are perceiving you. It’ll be really hard to focus on that math test, right?

But that’s what happening in many schools all over our nation. Is that what we want for our young women, who we’re trying to teach to be strong and independent?

There is no time better than in the midst of the fourth wave of the feminist movement to finally make our schools a safe-space for everyone to learn and thrive.