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What’s The Deal With The School Dress Code?

Erin Tillery

Erin Tillery

Khalyn Stevens and Nayimb Joyner

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Every school day, students here at Aberdeen High School are expected to adhere to a host of rules and regulations. Teachers are equally  required to enforce these rules and regulations. However, although many rules have been in place for a long time, many students and teachers only have vague ideas of why they need to be followed or enforced.

Some rules are obvious. For example, rules such as no phones during class without a teacher’s permission, no cheating, or being respectful are pretty common sense. Unfortunately, the reasons for other rules are not as obvious, and actually can seem to be quite ridiculous at times.

At first glance, rules such as “no hats or outerwear on while school is in session,” or “no phones even during lunch or on the bus” seem unnecessary. After all, how do hats inhibit learning? Or why can’t student use their phones during lunch when it’s not like they’re expected to be doing anything school related?

Ms. O’Grady, a forensic science teacher at Aberdeen High School, was interviewed based on her knowledge of the no hat/outerwear policy. She discussed the security issues that may come with hats, saying, “As far as that the hat policy, that’s probably just so you can identify people more easily and it’s just going to be making things safer.

As far as the outerwear policy, it’s going to also probably be for identification but also so that people don’t tend to bring stuff that they’re not supposed to bring on campus and hide that in their outerwear.

To gain more official insight into this matter, we interviewed an assistant principal at Aberdeen High School, Mr. Mark Truszkowski. Mr. Truszkowski said that anything with dress code really has to do with whether it is something can cause a disruption or a distraction to the regular programs to why we’re here at school.

“We’re here for an instructional purpose,” he said. Basically, if there’s outerwear or hats or anything of that nature that could cause a disruption to that, then, we cannot have that at school. 

That leads to the question of, what exactly is a disruption? When discussing this with other students and teachers, many of them could report no real disruption actually due to hats or outerwear. If anything, in their opinion, the only real disruption that occurs is what happens when teachers reprimand students for the dress code and other students then look up to see what’s going on.

Most students overwhelmingly disagree with the no hat/outerwear policy within schools. When questioned on her opinion of the current no hat/outerwear policy, Lina, a 10th grade student here at Aberdeen responded  “I don’t see the point of that, like, you’re not hurting anyone. And, I don’t know if that’s their way of distinguishing like actual students and people who aren’t meant to be in the building, but it’s still unnecessary. I don’t really see the purpose of it.”

Eleventh grade student, Keadon, also commented, saying “Personally, myself, I don’t see nothing wrong with [hats]. It’s not something like, gang related or anything that would harm anybody else. So, personally, the school is really overdoing it.”

Another rule we have here is that students are not permitted to use their phones at any time.In the student handbook, on page 14, it states, “The Board of Education permits students to possess cell phones during the regular school day: however, students are prohibited from using cell phones during the regular school day for any reason.”

However, this phone prohibition includes lunchtime and on the bus.

Lunch is the only time during school that students have to relax their brains from all the hard work that they have been doing for hours. Lunch is only 25 minutes, which includes the time to walk to the cafeteria, the time it takes to wait in line to get your lunch, and the time to eat.

When asked if this policy was necessary, one teacher said, “Necessary is debatable. I’m of the philosophy, you know, that I think you guys deserve a break and I think…a mental let down of time and that can happen during lunch because you’re not expected to be doing coursework at that time.”

However, while phone use may sound pleasurable to young students, it may be more of a mental strain that a breather.

On psychologicalscience.org, two researchers do not think that phone usage is a good use of free time. They state, “…Unlike taking a walk or chatting with friends, scrolling through apps on a smartphone might actually sap cognitive resources rather than restoring them.”

Back in our handbook, the phone policy that has been instituted on page 14 of the student handbook says that “Students shall not use cell phones or other PCDs at any time while being transported by Harford County Public School.”

While on the school bus, students are not in the classroom or doing any work. They are simply being transported home or to another destination.

Another teacher stated this about the bus phone policy: “As for as the bus, I think that’s kind of ridiculous. How would the bus driver know? They should be watching the road, not watching the students.”

However, this policy may have to do with another safety issue. 

We can hope that some of these rules might eventually be changed, but, for now, students at AHS will have to continue following them.

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What’s The Deal With The School Dress Code?