Dress Code Rule for School Event Sparks Criticism

Category: Education/Family


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. directive / dɪˈrɛk tɪv / (n) – an official rule or instruction

    The school emailed a new directive for the event.

  2. superintendent / ˌsu pər ɪnˈtɛn dənt / (n) – a person who manages an organization, like a school

    Our school’s superintendent has been leading the school for five years.

  3. kick out / kɪk aʊt / (phrasal) – to force someone to leave a place

    The security had to kick out some students due to their bad behavior.

  4. hold (someone) responsible for (something) / hoʊld rɪˈspɒn sə bəl fɔr / (idiom) – to blame someone for something or to consider someone in charge for something

    Teachers are often held responsible for their students’ welfare.

  5. amend / əˈmɛnd / (v) – to change and improve something, usually in a rule or law

    The administration did not amend the dress code for the event despite parents’ complaints.


Read the text below.

The Pewaukee [pi-WAW-kee] School District in Minnesota was criticized for asking female students to send photos of their dresses before they could buy tickets to their homecoming event.

The directive aims to ensure that students will follow the school dress code, which does not allow clothes that show too much skin. According to the school’s superintendent, the rule has been in place since 2015. It was imposed because the school does not want to kick out students on the day of homecoming due to inappropriate clothes.

He added that the directive was actually a way to handle the issue sensitively and that it has gained support from the community. However, it has also received criticism on social media.

For one, a Pewaukee student said that she is not comfortable with sending a photo of herself wearing her dress. She added that she would rather get kicked out from the event than send photos.

One parent also criticized the administration for thinking that their male students have inappropriate thoughts toward their female students. She added that the administration also seems to be holding female students responsible for those thoughts.

Lastly, a superintendent from another school said that the administration should just trust the judgment of students and parents on appropriate clothing.

Eventually, the criticism led the administration to amend the directive. Instead of sending photos, Pewaukee is allowing students’ parents to send them an e-mail to confirm that their child’s attire complies with the dress code.

In a similar incident last April, a Minnesota school also amended its dress code directive due to criticism. The administration was also requiring students to send photos of their prom dress, but they eventually said that the rule was only a suggestion.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think the school’s dress code directive is fair? Why or why not?
• What do you think is the purpose of having dress codes? Discuss.

Discussion B

• Do you think teens should be allowed to dress however they want or should authorities (e.g. parents, teachers) monitor them? Discuss.
• What aspects of a teenager’s life should be left to themselves? What about the aspects that older people should give guidance on?