This year, students at Burke have noticed a sharp increase in the amount of students being penalized for violating the dress code. Covid-19 has impacted this, with less focus on safety measures and more on students.
Many students have been sent to the office for their clothing and accessories. These can range from shirts, pants, and sometimes hair. Sophomore Adalyssa Gotschall recalls different complaints she’s received about her clothing throughout her years in school.
“I’ve been dress coded multiple times. For off the shoulder shirts, showing too much cleavage, ripped jeans, and graphic tees,” Gotschall said.
In the Burke student handbook under dress and personal appearance, a dress code violation is described as “clothing which is construed to be distracting to the learning environment.” The handbook states that a student’s appearance should promote positive opportunities and not disrupt the school environment. This description causes some students to have different interpretations of what is and isn’t violating the dress code.
“I have never been dress coded personally, but I tend to wear baggy clothing. With other girls that wear different clothes, I have heard countless stories about being dress coded or even suspended,” sophomore Reece Haith said.
Besides being punished for their clothing inside school, a couple students have also been penalized outside of school hours. One instance of this took place at the Burke vs. Bellevue West football game earlier this fall.
Senior Kamille Orr showed up in a pink lace top. She was asked to change, and with no clothes to change into, she questioned why. When no direct answers were given, eventually Orr was asked to leave the game. After this incident, a Change.org petition was started calling on OPS to re-evaluate the dress code that garnered over 500 student signatures.
After the football game, many students were questioning whether or not administrators had the authority to dress code students outside of school. While students may feel upset by the dress code, staff and administration stress the importance of having it in place at all OPS events as well.
“The Code of Conduct is applied at all OPS events, even at away games. If you are attending an OPS event, you are still under the Code of Conduct. I wish students would understand that every job you will ever have has a dress code,” senior Dean of Students Laura Geiger stated. “Outside of school, students can show their style or personality through clothing however they want. At school, it is an expectation to follow the dress code. You may disagree with it, but it is the expectation.”
After the petition arose, it prompted some students to share their thoughts on what they would like to change about the dress code. Junior Alex French wants the restrictions on girls to be loosened.
“I would change it so girls wouldn’t be criticized for showing even a little bit of skin,” French said.
No further action has been taken to change the dress code, and at this time it’s not being discussed. Administration hopes everyone continues to follow the dress code as it is.