Individuality Endangered By Dress Code Scrutiny


by Dennis Duffy
Eagle Staff

Bright colors, classy hairstyles and impressive outfits defined the hallways of our school last year.

It was a year of new styles and expression that allowed for each student to be unique in his own way.

Colored Sperrys and various hair styles not only preserved each student’s individuality but also allowed for students to feel comfortable in their own skin.

Sadly, last year’s creativity and style will not continue into this school year. This is not because the rules have changed, rather, the eyes that enforce them.

In the beginning of this year, it was made clear to us that the only form of individuality students are allowed to have is in our choice of socks.

When asked about the enforcement of school policies, new dean of students Tim Clarkson said he is only following the handbook. I have no problem with Clarkson enforcing the rules, but the rules should be changed.

Although uniformity has its place at our school, there should be room for individuality and expression. What makes our school great is not that we are the same but that we all bring something different. We are a diverse student body, and we unite through our diversity and values, not our dress code.

A student being distinct in his choice of colored Sperrys and hair style epitomizes personality, which is an important process of becoming a man. It tells others that he is not a follower and that he wants to be unique in the few ways he can in our school.

Sperrys of any color other than black or brown cannot be worn, even if it is the only shoe a student purchased for the upcoming school year. Junior Elioth Acevedo is not happy about this crackdown on shoes.

Acevedo bought two pairs of Sperrys, each about $150. After discovering that he was no longer allowed to wear colored Sperrys, Acevedo had to buy a pair of brown Sperrys for about $120.

This means that Acevedo wasted about $300 dollars unnecessarily on shoes for this school year.

If we were told prior to the first week of school that Sperrys accepted last year would not be acceptable this year, Acevedo, along with many other students, would not have wasted their money. Acevedo said that the first two pairs of shoes he bought would not have caused problems with anyone, since they were respectful and could have been worn at school.

Infractions of hair length have also been a problem this year.

Aside from facial hair, students did not complain about getting told to cut their hair last year. This year, however, many students complain about having to get their hair cut, even though they keep their hair, “neat, clean and well groomed,” just like the student handbook decrees.

But whose idea of “neat, clean, and well groomed” should the rulebook follow? Many faculty members believe hair “high and tight” is the definition of neat, clean and well groomed. Many students, however, believe long hair can still be respectable.

Instead of coming down on students with long hair, the administration should talk to students whose hair is short but still messy.

I am not saying students’ hair should look like Blake from Workaholics, but if students are able to see, and their hair is well groomed, neat, and clean, then they should be able to grow their hair out.

Students should be allowed more room for personal distinction and freedom when it comes to our school apparel. Student individuality has helped produce the young men of St. Thomas since 1900.