Dress Code Disregarded

The CB dress code. A policy that is almost universally disliked by CB students. Everyone wants to wear sweats or jeans to school, but no one wants to pick up trash at lunch. But this year has been unprecedented as the number of students out of dress code is at an all time high. It […]

The CB dress code. A policy that is almost universally disliked by CB students. Everyone wants to wear sweats or jeans to school, but no one wants to pick up trash at lunch. But this year has been unprecedented as the number of students out of dress code is at an all time high. It seems like the teachers don’t care anymore and have given up on enforcing it.

Mrs. Cecilia Powers, Co-Dean of Students, knows that students aren’t adhering to traditional rules this year, but knew COVID-19 and everything that comes with it would make things different.

“It is apparent that dress code is certainly different this year and that is in large part due to COVID. When we started thinking about the possibility of being open, so many things changed about the way we could do school. Not having lockers or P.E. lockers really factored into our thinking about dress code.”

Mrs. Powers also says that the restrictions brought on by COVID-19 forces the administration to be flexible with the dress code enforcement.

“Our priority has been to get as many students on campus as possible in as safe a way as we possibly can, so when we started thinking about how to do that, we knew we had to think differently about dress code. We had students registered for P.E. and athletes who, while it was unclear which teams would be practicing, we knew that at some time teams would be practicing after school. So because we couldn’t open the locker rooms, we knew we had to be flexible about what students are going to be wearing,” Mrs. Powers says. “We can’t expect students to be in traditional dress code and go run the mile or go to football practice.”

For Civics and AP Government teacher, Mr. Vince Leporini, being a stickler about dress code didn’t seem like a high priority given everything else that has been going on.

“I think it’s kind of like triage in the emergency room — you treat the most important things first,” he says. “With mental and emotional health of students and the content of the class, dress code went down on the list of importance because ,for one thing, we’re constantly shifting back and forth, and another thing is I believe in equity. If there’s students at home and students in class, I don’t think they should have wildly different experiences in terms of rules and expectations.”

“I try to be reasonable because coming to school is a burden with wearing masks and feeling a little bit more uncomfortable, so many teachers have kind of eased on that in a very unusual year.”

I was one of the P.E. students first semester and attended school out of dress code every Tuesday. Sweats became the usual, and soon, other students caught on to the fact that a lot of students were showing up in more comfortable attire without being questioned by teachers. After a few weeks of the dress code being enforced less and less, comfort reigned supreme.

Avery Dana (’21) stopped wearing dress code after he noticed that no one was being cited for being out of dress code.

“I realized that they weren’t really going to do anything to me because they can’t give out the usual punishments,” the senior says.

Avery is also one of the students that takes breaking dress code as an opportunity to be more comfortable rather than prioritizing style.

“I for sure prioritize comfort. I usually wear sweatpants and a sweatshirt of choice. I don’t really care about the shirt I wear because I never take off my sweatshirt.”

According to Mrs. Powers, the decision to be more relaxed about dress code came from the thought that students already have enough to worry about.

“We also recognize that there have been so many changes and challenges because of COVID, we didn’t think that really coming down on dress code didn’t seem to be, in the big picture, the right thing to do.”

Although dress code enforcement has been relaxed Mrs. Powers says that there is still a line that can be crossed.

“If there are students who are wearing something that really isn’t okay for school, I would have no problem addressing that with them.”

Mrs. Powers thinks that even though this has been an unprecedented year, a lot of the attitude towards dress code should go back to normal.

”It will probably be a little bit more challenging to get students back in dress code [next year], but there will be a whole new class of 9th graders, a lot of cohort C students who haven’t been here, and I think that just like every other year when we reset with dress code enforcement, we will have to do that diligently.”

Mr. Leporini thinks that students will naturally have a negative reaction towards dress code’s return, but believes it is something that is necessary and beneficial.

“I think there’s going to be a negotiation of a lot of school rules. Whenever you go this long without following rules, there’s going to be a reaction, there’s going to be students who are not happy about having to do some of the things they’ll have to do,” the social studies instructor says. “I believe in dress code because it takes away a distraction of socioeconomic standing. If everyone is wearing khakis and a CB shirt, you don’t have to focus on wealth or who can afford what. I think there is going to be a natural push back from students, but I think it is going to be reestablished if the reason is what I have expressed, that it makes everyone feel welcome to the community.”

However, Avery believes that being back on campus full time after most people have been vaccinated will cause dress code to return to normal.

“Next year I think dress code is going to be handled pretty well. I’m assuming we’re going to be back on campus fully so I would assume they would take dress code seriously again.”

This year has been weird and difficult in a lot of ways for a lot of people with countless changes to daily life. Some of those changes, like the lack of dress code enforcement, have been arguably good. However at some point things have to return to normal, so I’m not taking my current ability to wear sweats to school for granted.

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