Shorts Policy

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Shorts Policy

Ashley Estabrook

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Complaints about our school’s shorts policy have been rattling off the buildings walls ever since shorts became allowed here. This policy states that everyone’s shorts need to be at least fingertip length. Many people are against this policy, and many students even go as far as to call it “awful and sexist.” One student said “The dress code promotes rape culture and sexism. My sex should not determine my rights and my feelings towards what I choose to wear and what others think I should wear.” Lots of students, especially girls (whom it affects the most), are getting fed up with this system. Fed up that they make extreme remarks like, “I’m just going to keep wearing my athletic clothes until I get kicked out of school.” Peaceful protest could be a route, but in the past it has not helped to change the policy in question. This topic has been the source of tension due to the fact that the temperature is rising. These are some of the things that both students and staff members have to say, according to a recent survey.

 “Not everyone has the same arm length. Girls shouldn’t have to wear basketball shorts to not get dress coded. When (we) wear athletic shorts we still get dress coded even when it isn’t against the policy, it needs to be fair to all students.” This is one of the main points that has come up in almost every single one of the female students’ responses. Just last week, a female student (who has quite long arms) was wearing athletic shorts. These athletic shorts were non-revealing and gave her more that full coverage, but came about a centimeter short of being fingertip length. She told me that she was stopped by a staff member and told that her shorts were too short, and that she should never wear those shorts to school again. But those shorts were identical to the shorts that the girl would wear for gym. It is getting to the point of the year where it is hot outside and inside, so to deny many girls the right to wear their non-revealing athletic shorts is not logical.  It doesn’t make sense that people with short arms are allowed to wear almost any length of shorts they want, but people with long arms have to wear very long shorts. It is a common theme in most of the survey responses, with a majority of all people who took the survey saying that they think that there needs to be a different rule, one that has the same guidelines for everyone and doesn’t depend on height or arm length.

Some others think that as long as a person’s private parts can’t be seen, that it should be fine (this excludes undergarments and shorts so short that they resemble undergarments). This is because unlike showing one’s private parts, showing one’s legs is not indecent exposure. Almost everyone who proposed this idea included that nobody really wants to show their private areas anyway, they just want to wear shorts that they feel comfortable in. One student points out that “If your butt isn’t showing and your parents are comfortable and okay with what you’re wearing, then there should be no reason why you should be subjected to (sexist) insults and the dress code.”

Those against shorts that are less than fingertip length think that shorts distract guys, but according to the answers in the survey, it happens to be quite the contrary. A common theme in many male students surveys is that they really don’t care what girls wear, and girls wearing shorts doesn’t distract them.

Another common theme in a lot of the survey entries is that it appears to some people that some students are targeted more than others by the teachers when it comes to the shorts policy. For example, one student said, “You never see any of the heavier set girls getting in trouble for (violating the shorts policy) so it’s clearly an attraction thing… if it was bad (a student) would report it.”

So, if our current policy is a biased and unfair one, then what should be done to change it? One person proposes this idea, “(There) Should not be problem with shorts that aren’t showing some of your private areas. Shorts that go by the rule [finger-length] now are hard to find.” Many of the survey entries proposed this same idea. Another student offers the idea that “Instead of publicly shaming girls for wearing shorts in warm weather, teach (all) students and teachers(female and male) not to over sexualize normal female body parts.”

If you want to see something done to make the shorts policy equal for everyone, then write about it and propose your ideas to the board. If you would like to send a letter to the school board about this or if you would like to speak to the board about this, please do so via the Superintendent’s Office (if it is the latter of the two, make sure you do this at least a week prior to the Board meeting.) If you want to see change, make the change happen. I want to leave you with this quote from an answer to the survey.. Consider this: (the following quote was an answer to the survey question ‘What do you think the shorts policy should be?”) “This shouldn’t be a question. It isn’t even applied anymore to some kids… Everyone should be treated the same or don’t have the rule at all! I personally don’t find myself distracted when a girl wears short-shorts. They’re everywhere I go! It’s 2017 now, people need to realize that we are exposed to it either way. It doesn’t make any difference. They (the staff, administration, etc.) should focus on the kids who are chewing, not doing anything in school (both are things that happen here more than most people think) instead of shorts.”