Summary of the Dress Code Survey Results

Nov 25, 2017 | Inside the Bubble, News

On Nov. 3, the Student Council sent a survey to the upper school student body about the current dress code at Nueva. They were given four days to respond and the 220 responses have been summarized in this report.

I. What is the Problem?

Students could select as many options as they wanted in this section. On average, students selected 2 options. 44% of students said complaints about the dress code bother them, 41% said enforcement or commentary by teachers bothers them, 39% said enforcement or commentary by the administration bothers them, 25% said the dress code itself bothers them (Specifically, many people specified that ambiguity in the language, leading to selective enforcement, was the problem), 18% said commentary by other students bothers them, and 17% of students said a lack of enforcement of the dress code bothers them. Additionally, 6% of students selected the “other” category and wrote that nothing bothers them.

Worth noting, students who said there is no problem surrounding the dress code or that other students’ complaints bothered them were significantly more likely to say that they felt uncomfortable voicing their opinion in a town hall. Discussions of the issue in person are thus likely to be skewed towards the views of those who are unhappy with the current dress code.

II. Gender

Respondents were almost exactly evenly split between males and females. (There were not enough non-binary respondents to extrapolate statistically significant results.) Responses were also extremely consistent across genders. There was no significant difference in 

perceptions of problems surrounding the dress code, comfort levels voicing their opinions, or support for having a dress code at all. The only difference between males and females was that male respondents’ dress choices are far less affected by the dress code than female dress choices.

III. Should Nueva have a Dress Code?

The principal arguments made in favor of having a dress code were:

  1. People probably shouldn’t be naked, so clearly there’s a line to be drawn somewhere. Better to draw it and be clear than not draw it, leading to ambiguity and selective enforcement.
  2. We should at least have a dress code that bans inappropriate content on clothing like racist messages.

The principal arguments against a dress code were:

  1. We’re high schoolers. We can take care of ourselves. We should be judging this for ourselves. There are other schools without dress codes and their students don’t dress inappropriately.
  2. A dress code puts the responsibility for the sexualization of women on women, which is problematic.

One thing a majority of respondents agreed on was that the current dress code—which tends to use vague language and rely on case-by-case enforcement—is not working. We need something more specific or nothing at all.

I believe Nueva should not have a dress code at all.

(220 responses)

I would feel comfortable voicing my opinion about the dress code in a town hall.

(220 responses)

How much does the dress code factor into what you decide to wear to school each day?

(1=Not at all & 10=Very limiting factor)

 

IV. Specific Clauses of the Dress Code

Two methodological notes:

  • We received numerous reports of confusion surrounding these questions. This may have reduced the number of respondents that disagreed with each clause.
  • Only clauses with greater than 10% of responses in dissent are included in these results.

1. The opening blurb of the dress code

15% of respondents (30% when neutral responses are excluded) were dissatisfied with the opening lines of the dress code. A majority of comments here focused on the ambiguity and use of meaningless buzzwords. Some also mentioned that the high school dress code should be distinct from the other divisions.

2. Wearing shoes at all times

28% of respondents (44% when neutral responses are excluded) were dissatisfied with the requirement to wear shoes on campus. It should be clarified here that this clause is necessary for all California schools for legal reasons, but few people actually enforce it around campus.

 

3. Undergarments

40% of respondents (54% when neutral responses are excluded) were dissatisfied with the clause banning visible undergarments. Respondents generally felt this clause was too restrictive, particularly since some undergarments are designed to be visible. Respondents also criticized this clause for the ambiguity in what is defined as “undergarments.”

4. Allowing for regular movement without creating a distraction.

27% of respondents (40% when neutral responses are excluded) were dissatisfied with the clause banning visible undergarments. An overwhelming majority of complaints criticized the ambiguity of the word “distracting.” Some also thought students should be able to decide for themselves how comfortable they want to be when moving or that it is not the wearer’s fault if they distract other people.

One thing a majority of respondents agreed on was that the current dress code—which tends to use vague language and rely on case-by-case enforcement—is not working. We need something more specific or nothing at all.

Written by PACO P

Written by PACO P

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