“Show Some Self-Respect”


According to the Blue Valley student handbook dress code, the Board of Education’s policy 3513 is “Students’ clothing shall reflect a sense of self-respect and personal dignity.”

By definition, the terms self-respect and personal dignity mean pride and confidence in oneself; a feeling that one is behaving with honor. 

Dignity is the right of a person to be valued and respected for their own sake and to be treated ethically.

But in a high school setting, what does it mean to wear clothing that reflects a sense of self-respect and personal dignity? Where is the line drawn in terms of self-respect? Where is the line drawn between what represents by definition, the terms self-respect and personal dignity?

For example, if a person were to show up wearing something that shows midriff or too much skin, and someone feels distracted, that person would get “dress coded.” How does that go against the dress code when it states that the clothing a person should wear should reflect a sense of self-respect?

According to Junior Brady York, he has seen students get dress coded for the items they have worn to school.

“Coming from a student perspective, and coming from someone who literally wears whatever they want, when people tell me [about the dress code] it’s kind of stupid, in my opinion.  I’m just saying that because we’ve had multiple instances where like, shoulders would be out, and people would get dress coded for that, which doesn’t make sense. I mean, showing belly buttons, that’s fine for me. If it affects other people, I’m sorry,” York said.

York said students should be able to express themselves through what they wear to school, and they should wear what they want when they want.
“If you feel hot in it, wear it,” York said. “You might get a chance of getting dress-coded, but it’s not going to be the end of the world.”
Senior Merritt Palmer stated her opinions on the matter that students should be able to wear what they want, even if it goes against others’ opinions on the dress code.

“I think self-respect for yourself is what you feel best in and what you feel comfortable in,” Palmer said. “I think it’s really all up to you and what you feel the most confident in.” 

Palmer stated that she has been called derogatory names from wearing items such as a tank top.

“I have boobs, bigger boobs, so any tank top that I wear, I am considered more of a wh*** than someone who doesn’t have boobs wearing the exact same tank top,” Palmer said. “I have bigger boobs and I am, you know, ‘trying to get people’s attention’, but I’m not trying to get people’s attention, I just like tank tops.”

Palmer is not the only student who has felt constricted or judged by the dress code. Senior Jase Long said that he has gotten backlash from peers and faculty for his clothing choices in the past.

I personally like my shorts a little shorter than other guys, and I think that it’s annoying when you get gym teachers or any teacher, looking at me saying, ‘Jase, pull your shorts down…’” Long said. “My dad used to dress code in middle school all the time because he was my teacher back then.”

Long said he wears the clothing that makes him happy, even if other people don’t agree with it.

“[It] makes me feel good, I like the feeling, I hate when stuff touches my knees,” Long said.

Not only should students be able to wear whatever they want, they also need to understand that they should not judge other students for what they are wearing.

Senior Isabella Noll said she has experienced and seen judgment among students due to their clothing. She said blaming someone’s clothing for being distracting is unreasonable.

“I think [the dress code is] super unrealistic because in the real world, people dress however they want,” Noll said.

Noll is not the only one who feels this way. According to a poll from the BVN News Instagram page, @BVNnews, out of 178 students polled, 58 percent of students do not agree with the dress code.

Noll said she has personally felt more judged by her peers in the school setting.

“I have felt uncomfortable in certain circumstances because people will look at you in different ways. If I am wearing something ‘inappropriate,’ I’ve gotten looks from teachers and I have had people tell me, ‘oh, maybe you shouldn’t wear that,’” Noll said.

Junior Katherine Koplik believes that everyone should be ready to learn in the school setting, without the factor of clothing causing any types of judgment or issues from others.   

“Whatever makes you feel confident and not insecure with yourself, as long as you feel ready to learn,” Koplik said.


After writing this story, seeing the opinions of my peers and looking at the data collected from the polls, I have realized that there are many unseen problems revolving around the dress code, and the clothing worn by students. So much has changed in the world since the original dress code was put into place, the stigma of what is ‘socially acceptable’ to wear to school has changed, even if some people decide to disagree with it. Fashion trends have changed, I cannot tell you the last time I have seen a woman’s shirt that was, in my opinion, ‘cute’ that wasn’t a crop top, low neckline, or fit into the other categories that may cause ‘distractions’. I believe that as a student body, and a society, we shouldn’t judge others for what they wear, because in the real world, that is not an excuse for judgement or distraction. Students should wear what makes them feel happy and comfortable, and if that doesn’t fit your ideals of a sense of self-respect and personal dignity, then so be it.

Edited for Clarification: 9:35 a.m. on Nov. 2