Should teens be told how to dress?

Hazel McCallion Senior Public School
Mississauga, Ontario

By Jessica Williamson, Grade 8

Why can't teens wear what they want these days? Most feel they are old enough to take on the responsibility of how to dress and they want to wear the styles that are "in".

Unfortunately, some styles are not appropriate for schools. Most schools at the senior level set dress codes so that the students have self-respect and look presentable. Needless to say, most teens disagree with these rules.

No child, especially those over the age of ten, likes to be told what to do and how to do it. This
includes dressing. However, there are good reasons as to why schools do not allow certain clothing.

One example is t-shirts with inappropriate slogans or language. These kinds of clothes may not be offensive to the person wearing them but perhaps they will be to people around them. Shirts that display sayings or illustrations that are prejudiced or sexist are absolutely unacceptable.

Another example is a rule that says people cannot wear hats in school. Well, no one fully understands why this rule exists but it supposed to be a sign of courtesy and politeness. Apparently, these are very good reasons to some people, but most teens feel they are unnecessary.

"You shouldn't be told how and what to wear if it doesn't offend you or anyone else," says Delia Gordon, a junior high student at Hazel McCallion.

Delia added, "A dress code is when the students have to wear the same types of clothes. If we have to do that, we should just wear a uniform.""

Are uniforms such a bad idea? They can make life a little less difficult. There is no comparison amongst students concerning how much money a family has and no one is worrying about what to wear in the morning. It certainly takes away the freedom of wearing what you want to wear, but it makes school life a whole lot easier.

Still, uniforms can be worn inappropriately as well. Many kilts worn by high school girls are so short that to see someone bend over to pick something up could cause most people to blush with embarrassment. Does this mean we now need to have a uniform, plus regulations to guarantee they are worn appropriately?

Most dress codes are imposed on people to make sure that a certain level of respect is demonstrated. Teens sometimes lack the experience needed to ensure that they dress suitably. Dress codes simply state what is or isn't befitting a situation.


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