Students and Staff Members Express Opinions on Dress Code

Luna Tarango Perez

According to a recent survey in which 14 staff members participated, 42.9%  believed the student dress code is “fair and reasonable”; whereas 35.7% felt it should be “more lenient.” 

Among the 23 students who completed the survey, 56.5 % expressed a neutral position on the dress code.  13% of the students who objected to the dress code cited sexism as the reason. Some students from Cottonwood and other high schools have said the dress code is sexist to girls because there are more restrictions placed on what girls can wear.

However, a full 69.6% of students did not “mind the dress code.”  This percentage was comparable to the 78.6 % of staff members who stated that they were “not bothered” by their high school dress code when they were students. 

What is the dress code? 

  Cottonwood’s dress code prohibits tank tops “of any kind” for everyone. “No sagging pants showing underwear” for boys. For girls: “No cleavage showing, no short skirts or shorts must be below fingertips, no bra straps showing, and no bare midriff.” 

Teachers’ opinions:

Staff members expressed a wide range of opinions from “abolish it” to “enforce it consistently.”

 Zahaia Cuevas, the food, sewing, and fashion teacher explained her thoughts on fashion and student autonomy. 

She said, “When you look good, you feel good. When you dress [yourself] and look in the mirror you have confidence.”

At the same time, Cuevas sees the dress code as necessary. 

 “As a teacher, I think it’s important. I think the dress code is there to protect you, like with the pants rule, no one wants to see your underwear and there are other ways to express yourself without showing your whole body, ” Cuevas said.

“Yes, I think students see the dress code as a way of limiting what they can wear,” she continued. “I can see them having thoughts like, if people are looking at me and think it is provocative then that’s their problem, not mine. I agree to an extent but some students take it a little far with the items they wear.”

Students’ opinions:

   A junior student,  Ashley*, shared a different perspective. 

She said, “I think the dress code can be good but it feels restricting with some things like no tank tops, and the only Cottonwood hats rule is a little dumb.”(The hats rule was changed recently by Principal Douglas to allow non-Cottonwood hats).  

Some students believe the dress code is sexist to girls. 

Another student, Aria*, a sophomore, expressed her opinion. 

She said, “I do think it’s a lot harsher on girls than boys. I don’t know how wearing a tank top is so distracting to people; the dress code could be a little different.” 


40.9 % of students surveyed believed the code should be “gender neutral”, while  31.8 % favored no changes. As for the question of sexism? 

Ashley* said, “I can see why people think that, but I’m in the middle. [It’s] not necessarily sexist, but not good either.”

*real name withheld for privacy