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For Girls, Warm Weather Clashes With La Salle’s Dress Code

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For Girls, Warm Weather Clashes With La Salle’s Dress Code

Maggie Rasch, Staff Reporter

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As the sun starts to come out more and more, school dress codes become harder for girls to maintain without overheating during the school day. This is especially true at La Salle. Summer is right around the corner, making the expectations unrealistic for the warmer weather we’re currently having.

La Salle is one of many high schools with dress code restrictions that especially impact girls. Although the handbook does not state what gender it addresses, it is generally directed towards girls with many of the regulations specifically addressing girls much more than boys.

The overall dress code rules are fairly simple: Shorts and skirts have to be within two inches above the knee, and any athletic pants are not permitted, except on Falcon Fridays, unless they are covered to the normally required length. Shirts must come within two inches of the collarbone, cover shoulders completely, and touch the top of the bottom worn at all times. All dresses also have to follow these rules.

Although the goal of the dress code is to create a safe Lasallian environment, it is actually targeting girls while making it harder for them to dress themselves, especially in hotter weather.

Society has always judged girls by their appearance and outfits. Girls are instructed to cover up whatever they can in order to prevent themselves from being a distraction. Girls are often told they are wearing something too sexual or that they shouldn’t be showing that much skin. However, when girls get comments like these, it can bring down their whole self-esteem, and it can be embarrassing and unnecessary.

At La Salle, when girls try to go around the dress code, they get either a warning or a dress code violation. Speaking from experience, I can say that getting dress-coded at school is one of the most humiliating things. I know La Salle’s intention isn’t to embarrass girls, but that is the reality of what happens.

Portland recently broke records with a particularly hot week for April. During this time, I definitely struggled with putting together an outfit where I wasn’t going to sweat all day. I ended up wearing jeans on an 80 degree day because I couldn’t find anything else to wear that matched the school requirements.

Last week, I had track practice after school, and other girls and I were particularly excited to get outside in the warm weather to practice. However, before going to change, a coach informed us that we could only wear leggings during the practice. We were all upset and confused.

Why did we have to cover up our legs in 75 degree weather? Meanwhile, the boys were able to wear whatever shorts they wanted. Some boys even took their shirts off during practice.

Within this last year, La Salle has taken a step towards making the dress code less strict by allowing leggings and sweatpants for girls on Falcon Fridays.

Despite this, leggings seem to be the number one reason girls get dress coded during the rest of the week. The most popular reason is because leggings are supposed to be worn with a “tunic,” a dress or long shirt that covers the butt. However, many girls at La Salle like to ignore the rule and wear leggings with normal shirts or jackets, which is the way leggings are intended to be worn.

Instead of risking the rules by wearing leggings, some girls resort to wearing skinny black jeans. Nonetheless, these are nearly the exact same as leggings, except with pockets and a zipper.

There shouldn’t be differences in rules between wearing black jeans and leggings when they are practically the same thing.

From a distance, it’s very hard to tell the difference between a girl wearing black jeans and leggings at La Salle. Skinny jeans aren’t considered a distraction, so why are leggings?

Not to mention, the majority of a student’s day is spent sitting down or walking around with a backpack on. Therefore, leggings shouldn’t be described as a distraction at school, and girls should be able to wear them more often.

Although there are dress code rules for boys, it is a much easier code to follow. The only downside for them is that boys aren’t allowed to wear basketball shorts, except on Falcon Fridays. However, boys usually wear longer shorts than girls, which makes it easier for them to follow the dress code, but still be ready for the warm weather.

Girls have to struggle with finding skirts and shorts that aren’t too short, as well as shirts that aren’t low cut and have sleeves. To add onto that, dresses have to follow all the rules also.

This leaves girls helpless as they try to put together an outfit that follows all the rules on a 80 degree day. Girls should have at least a little more freedom, so they’re not as restricted. It is unlikely La Salle will make drastic changes to its dress code soon, but we could start with some simple changes.

La Salle should allow dresses and skirts to go to fingertip-length, allow running shorts during the warmer months, and permit shirts that go to within three inches of the collarbone.

These changes could really prove that girls’ outfits are not distractions to the school community.

La Salle’s dress code is not fair to girls, especially during the warmer months, and it needs to be changed soon. It discriminates against girls and labels them as distractions. Girls should be allowed to choose what they wear to school because it is their own body.

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash. Used with permission.

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About the Writer
Maggie Rasch, Staff Reporter

Maggie is a freshman at La Salle. She plays volleyball for La Salle, as well as competitive volleyball all year round. She enjoys thrifting, traveling,...


9 Responses to “For Girls, Warm Weather Clashes With La Salle’s Dress Code”

  1. nina timmen on May 2nd, 2018 7:12 pm

    I completely agree. At times I think our dress code is completely unfair and degrading towards women. I get certain rules, but leggings and dresses that are higher than 2 inches above our knees should not be our top priority. We are a college prep, and we should be focusing on education, not what people wear!

  2. Grace Winningham on May 2nd, 2018 8:58 pm

    I agree wholeheartedly. Some changes need to be made to the dress code because it simply isn’t comfortable to be sitting in a stuffy classroom in 80 degree weather wearing a pair of heavy jeans. I appreciate you standing up for us by writing this article 🙂

  3. Mandy Sisul on May 2nd, 2018 10:58 pm

    Once again, a fantastic article Maggie! I completely agree with all of the points you made, and I appreciate you speaking out about it. I really relate to the part about having to wear jeans when it is so hot outside. Great job!

  4. Brigid Hanley on May 2nd, 2018 11:40 pm

    I was excited with how far our dress code did come this year! I do think for warm days there could be more room for what is both reasonable and appropriate, like nice tank tops, and shorts that are loose, even if they don’t reach the Bermuda length. Sometimes it seems that trying to work around the rules currently in place creates more dress code issues, like trying to stay cool but wear a non tank top leads to more girls wearing crop tops. However, La Salle has made good changes so far with Falcon Fridays!

  5. Samantha Dillard on May 3rd, 2018 8:44 am

    I totally agree Maggie! I love the points you made! Great Article.

  6. Megan Ehl on May 3rd, 2018 8:55 am

    I agree with Brigid, I do believe that our dress code has come far since our freshman year.

  7. Kelly Tidrick on May 3rd, 2018 1:12 pm

    “However, before going to change, a coach informed us that we could only wear leggings during the practice.” In 75 degree weather? I find this requirement outrageous. As a mother of a male track athlete, I’m often on campus waiting to pick up my son, and I have seen on more than one occasion a male student without a shirt on. To be clear, I am not offended. It’s 75-77 degrees out, and if one has been exercising, I’m sure it’s nice to cool off by taking off one’s shirt. Why are girls not allowed the same comfort by wearing shorts? There are shorts for young women that are of acceptable length. Why not just require that, as the normal dress code dictates, instead of telling girls they can’t expose their legs during Track practice (of all things)?

  8. Shak saidjanov on May 3rd, 2018 2:12 pm

    I completely agree Mr. Dreisbach. With the hot weather the dress code is unfair to guys who just want to wear some normal fitting shorts and a tank top. Time for change !!!

  9. Brian Devine on May 4th, 2018 2:47 pm

    Maggie, thank you for sharing your well written perspective on the student dress code and for highlighting some of the areas that we still need to consider. As Brigid mentioned in her comment, we have worked with students over the last few years to make some important adjustments to the dress code that have been in response to student voice. We are always open to having ongoing conversations with students about the dress code. One important point to clarify – From a school leadership perspective, we have not communicated that student dress is a safety issue or a distraction issue. Rather, the purpose of our dress code is to help students understand the difference between clothing for different purposes – primarily we dress for academic purposes and once a week we have clothing for more casual or athletic purposes. This is why we have a clear distinction between athletic clothing (worn on Falcon Fridays), academic dress code (worn the rest of the week), and Liturgy dress (worn only on special occasions). We definitely don’t want students to ever feel that their clothing or their bodies are a distraction. We just want students to understand the purpose of what they are dressing for. Thanks for listening.

    Mr. Devine

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