Dress Code Violations Should Not Result in ISS

Casey Stavenhagen, Staff Writer

Recently, students in violation of the dress code began receiving ISS. This was caused by the recurrence of violations when the punishment was more lenient, but the punishment is not what needs the reform, it is the policy.

The policy has four purposes, as stated on page 48 of the CISD Student Handbook, and those are to “create and maintain a respectful and positive learning environment;  prevent the disruption, interference with, or detraction from the educational environment and school activities;  minimize health and safety hazards; teach students grooming and hygiene.” As the goals of the district are important and necessary, the issue arises when people are put into ISS for things that do not reasonably seem to prevent the district from achieving their goals. (https://www.canyonisd.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/20170801-STUDENT-HANDBOOK-final.pdf)

Looking through section 1 of the dress code regarding hair, only one issue stands out, and it is one that occurs again and again. The section reads that facial hair must not be “excessive in nature” but gives no context as to what is considered excessive. The use of vague language can leave students unaware that they are violating the dress code, and what is considered “excessive” could vary between administrators. A clearly stated definition of what meets and does not meet dress code would be much better suited here.

In section 2 regarding apparel, the issues are more subjective, such as the necessity of shoulders to remain covered. It could be argued that revealed shoulders, for example, are either disrespectful or disruptive, but by no means is anybody harmed or distracted by a student’s shoulder. Of course, limitations on what can and can’t be revealed are necessary, but being more loose with these rules would allow students to feel more comfortable and would allow them to be held to the same standard as college students in the aspect that, as long as education is not being disrupted, there is not a problem. Although high school students are not college students, treating them in some ways as such would give students a sense of freedom that students appreciate.

Subjective issues like this are likely to always be around in dress codes, but if it cannot clearly be seen as a disruption to someone’s education, then a day in ISS becomes a much larger distraction for that student than seeing a bare shoulder could have caused for another student. If the distraction to education comes from a punishment rather than the violation, then the punishment is more likely the issue.