I’m the product of a Catholic high school in the suburbs of Philadelphia. All students at Archbishop Carroll were required to follow a dress code. The girls had a uniform of a white blouse, maroon or gray sweater, and gray plaid skirt. The boys had to wear khakis or dress pants, a dress shirt, necktie, and sport coat.
The dress code wasn’t a big deal and it shouldn’t have been hard to comply. Nevertheless, I racked up my fair share of dress code violations, usually because I left the house without a tie or sport coat. Eventually, I learned to leave two sport coats and a handful of ties in my locker at all times. Problem solved.
My sons attend public schools in Charlotte. Their schools don’t require uniforms but do have certain expectations regarding clothing in the classroom. For example, students at my sons’ schools are not supposed to wear pants with holes in the knees. They’re also not allowed to wear flip-flops. Based on my field research, i.e. sitting in the carpool line, I can tell you that neither one of those rules is strictly enforced. However, a high school in neighboring Tennessee appears to take their dress code quite a bit more seriously, to the point that it doesn’t appear to make any sense.
Dickson County High School senior Tori Taylor has been pulled out of classes because two of her crew neck t-shirts did not meet the school’s standard for appropriate attire. The official policy states that “students must wear collared or crew neck shirts with sleeves.” No one seems to be able to explain what the problem is with Tori’s shirts, except that they weren’t “the right cut of a crew neck top.” One thing that is clear is that the dress code at Dickson County High School is not clear enough.