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Dublin High Adjusts Dress Code in Response to Student and Parent Feedback

August 31, 2010 met with Dublin High School Principal Carol Shimizu today to talk about changes to the dress code that have just been announced.  Since the first day of school (which coincided with one of the hottest days of the summer), there have been Facebook and kitchen table debates over the merits and challenges of Dublin High’s dress code.  The dress code, which has been in place for over a year, has both been criticized as too restrictive and praised for creating a more business-like campus.  The key change is allowing girls to wear clothing to “mid-thigh” in response to challenges many students and their parents have faced buying dress code-compliant clothing. Student leaders at Dublin High did recommend, however, that a zero tolerance policy be in place to enforce the revised dress code.

Principal Carol Shimizu shares her thoughts on reasons for the dress code and the changes now being implemented:

Dress code controversies are nothing new.  In the late 90’s several large public school districts even went so far as to implement school uniforms (an approached used in other countries such as Japan and England).  President Clinton stated in a 1996 speech: “If it means that the school rooms will be more orderly and more disciplined, and that our young people will learn to evaluate themselves by what they are on the inside, instead of what they’re wearing on the outside, then our public schools should be able to require their students to wear uniforms.”

Is this the last of dress code controversies at Dublin High?  Doubtful.  As long as there are teenagers there will be a tug-of-war over clothing.

  1. September 1, 2010 1:55 am

    I think dress codes for schools are a great idea. It forces kids to focus on what they’re at school for. It also reduces the time it takes for kids to dress, and even the cost of clothing, since it’s the same outfit for the whole year. Another great reason is safetly. outsiders are easily identified.

  2. Concern Parents permalink
    September 13, 2010 10:53 am

    I feel that enforcement should be across the board. If students are expected to adhere with the dress code, then cheer leaders and faculties should also be forced to follow the same guidelines. I noticed that cheer leaders and faculties have a different set of rules when it comes to dress code.

  3. Tamara Elias permalink
    September 13, 2010 11:01 am

    I do not agree on the arbitrary nature of the dress code. Following is the transcript of a letter I sent to Ms. Shimizu detailing my opinion:

    Dear Ms. Shimizu:
    I am the parent of two children currently in the Dublin Unified School District. My son is a sophomore at DHS, and my daughter is in 8th grade at Fallon.
    I am so pleased with the growth made at Dublin High School recently, from the obvious improvements in the physical campus to the academic performance of students. My son loves attending DHS, and my daughter looks forward to it.
    My concern is with the very restrictive dress code in place at the high school. I certainly understand the need for guidelines, however, I feel the specifics are unrealistic and unnecessary. Requiring shorts/dresses to be to the knee doesn’t serve a purpose, so I’m pleased to hear that this restriction has been revised to thigh length. Ideally, I think there shouldn’t be a length requirement at all, and any instances of a student wearing clearly inappropriate clothing should be dealt with individually.
    Just yesterday (while trying to avoid traffic—another story), I drove past both Foothill and Amador Valley high schools in Pleasanton while students were on their way to the campuses. I saw many girls in shorts/skirts that were above the thigh. I don’t think anyone would argue that the academic performances at both schools are fantastic. It does not appear that the length of girls’ clothing has negatively impacted this.
    I’ve read that your concern with the girls wearing “shorter” clothing is that it would be a distraction to the boys. Let’s face it. Teenage boys have so many hormones coursing through their bodies that it really doesn’t matter what the girls are wearing, they can be distracted. But, that’s a generalization and doesn’t give boys credit for being able to focus. Boys have been able to get an education for years and years despite girls wearing sundresses and shorts, I don’t think it’s going to change now.
    From a practical standpoint, it’s close to impossible to find shorts/skirts/dresses in stores that meet the current dress code at DHS. This is stressful to both parents and girls. If the administration is considered about girls wearing shorter attire being a problem for boys, then they should be just as concerned about the issue of girls having limited options for clothing AND being uncomfortable because of having to wear clothing that is too warm in hot weather. Inconvenience and distraction goes both ways. Why should ALL girls on campus be inconvenienced because SOME boys may be distracted? That is punishing the many for the few.
    This brings me to cheerleader uniforms. Some of my fondest memories from high school were on game days when the cheerleaders and football players would wear their uniforms to school. It promoted such a feeling of school pride and community!
    I think it is an error to apply arbitrary dress code guidelines to an element of school that has historically been a source of unity and pride.
    To require 69 girls to take away academic time to leave a classroom and go change in the bathroom/locker room (not to MENTION the logistics of this happening all at once) so that they can perform in a rally, then go back to the bathroom/locker room and change out of their cheerleading uniform, missing more class time, is shortsighted. If the administration’s concern with the length of girls’ clothing is to allow boys concentrate on their schooling, then why is it okay for the girls to “pay the price” in lost class instruction because they are not allowed to wear a school uniform the entire day? This is not equitable or reasonable, on either count.
    My son is on the football team, and he practiced EVERY DAY, the entire summer. He also carries a 4.0 grade point average. If he were not allowed to celebrate his efforts and commitment because of some arbitrary code, I would be very upset and disappointed. The cheerleaders practice all summer long too. Their coach, Kristine Cousins, stresses the need for these young ladies to be good role models, strive to be on the honor roll, and promote school spirit. In addition to time, cheer families spend a lot of money for training AND the DHS cheer uniform.
    My daughter is a member of the Grand National Champion Fallon Cheer Squad. The girls competed in four separate competitions around the Bay Area last year, before traveling to Southern California and competing in the USA Nationals, which they won. Trust me when I tell you that the public at large (from a school and cheer perspective) knows who Fallon is. Their efforts and dedication brought great recognition to Fallon. The same thing is going to happen to Dublin High School this year. Dublin High cheerleaders, through their work and commitment are ambassadors for the school.
    The current restrictions on length of clothing that would keep these representatives of Dublin High School from celebrating their commitment to hard work and school pride are regrettable. I urge you to objectively reconsider the dress code on all levels, but, most immediately, as it applies to the cheerleaders. There is NOTHING to lose, and everything to gain, to allow students to have freedom in the length of their clothing and simply deal with violations individually.
    Tamara Elias

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