The Necessity of a Dress Code
by Christina Lin on Friday, March 7th, 2014
Nowadays, Milton does not operate under a formal or strict dress code, unlike many other ISL schools, such as Thayer and St. Mark’s. Ms. Dey, a Milton alum and current history teacher, recalls that as an Upper School student, she had to wear formal clothing to school everyday. When she came back to teach, the dress code had just begun to progress towards our current no-dress code state. Now that spring is approaching, the annual debate of whether or not a dress code should exist has again been brought back to the table.
There are distinct drawbacks to having a dress code. Most notably, a rigid dress code detracts from the liberal mindset that defines Milton Academy. Here, we are encouraged to explore, to try new things, and most of all, to embrace our individuality. Clothing is just one way in which we do so. By forcing us into identical clothing, Milton would be stripping us of a vital medium of expression. As a preparatory school, Milton has the duty to ease us into independence, and teach us to make our own decisions.
Moreover, a dress code would become an unnecessary inconvenience to students. During my high school application process, I toured at another private school that had a rigid dress code. Dressed in a button-down, thin blazer, and skirt, my tour guide shook in the freezing winter, but could not wear a thicker, more informal jacket. This problem would only be accentuated at Milton because of its open campus, and we should certainly not be constrained to such an impractical dress code.
However, I agree that Milton should put in place a dress code, although one significantly more lenient than at the school I described above. Often, students’ clothing not only makes teachers uncomfortable, but also distracts fellow students during classes, forcing faculty to initiate awkward conversations outside of class about promiscuity. With a stricter dress code than the one currently in place, muscle shirts and miniskirts would quickly disappear, and clothing would always be suitable for this academic setting.
We need some more solid guidelines to encourage more appropriate attire. Last year, the administrative team made an attempt to establish a dress code. Mr. Ball clearly laid out these rules at a Monday morning assembly. However, their failure to consistently follow up led to little change in the clothing of our student body. I propose that we go a small step further with these guidelines; if a faculty or staff member sees inappropriate attire, the student should have to change into a comical costume from the Deans’ office. These costumes could range from an animal onesie to a full suit. This light, humorous system would maintain Milton’s loose, liberal atmosphere, but also urge students to put more thought into the appropriateness of their dress before coming to school. In addition, Milton ought to explain the dress code with greater detail and make those details accessible so that students are more aware of what clothes are suitable for the classroom.
As times of warm weather and lush grass approach, the student body has the responsibility to wear appropriate clothing. Faculty and fellow students alike should not have to worry about “shortest shorts,” as Mr. Ball described last year during a Monday morning assembly. If we are able to implement a dress code that still allows for individuality, convenience, and modesty, the Milton community would be better off.
Short URL: http://miltonmeasure.org/?p=5858