Most schools have and enforce a dress code. They all say similar things like, no short shorts, no crop tops, no sleeveless shirts, and nothing with depictions of alcohol, drugs, or violence. Recently, many high school students all over the country have spoken against the unfair dress codes in schools, and students at Rialto High are no different.
During the first week of the 2021-2022 school year, Rialto High School principal Dr. Sweeny, made an announcement during fifth period, reminding students of the dress code on campus. This sparked a negative reaction among students, especially female students. Many students think dress code promotes rape culture and shames women and girls for their bodies. It is known that the dress code is targeted towards girls more often than it is targeted towards boys. No crop tops, no short shorts, if you really think about it, it’s obvious these rules are in place for girls.
It seems as if dress codes are in place to stop boys from being distracted by how girls dress. “It just perpetuates rape culture,” said junior Eliana Guillory-Ayala. “We should be teaching guys not to sexualize girls.”
When asked about the dress code, junior Ximena Zepeda said, “It’s unnecessary, why can’t we wear crop tops or tank tops in the summer?” Junior Emmily Casas agrees, “It is sort of sexist and punishes girls for just trying to stay cool in the heat,” she says.
Physics teacher Mr. Julien Ansermet says, “I don't think the dress code is unfairly targeting anyone. The dress code's intent is to provide guidelines for what is and what is not appropriate to wear at a learning institution like Rialto High School. Those guidelines, in my opinion, don't single out anyone or make demands that certain students cannot meet.” He continues to say, “I think the dress code is important because as a society, we have many situations that have a ‘dress code.’ When attending a wedding, court date, interview, funeral, or job, there is often an unwritten dress code as to what is and is not appropriate. It's important for all to be aware of these situations, and I think our dress code helps to teach this to students.”
In response to the dress code, Instagram stories began popping up describing how unfair the dress code is and how there would be a protest against it. Students planned to have the majority of people break the dress code in rebellion of these rules. The post invited both girls and boys to wear a tank top or crop top to protest. There were multiple people who protested by dressing in pants with large holes or shirts that were quite short, but still not the majority, and not enough students participated to create an uproar.
Rialto High School is not the only high school in the Rialto Unified School District that has a problem with dress code. Junior Chim Ozonoh at Carter High School has gone to Instagram to express her distaste for the dress code at CHS. She made a post describing how sexist and even racist dress codes can be. Ozonoh even made a petition on chng.it that has received over 1580 signatures as of late September. A student at Rialto High School followed shortly after and started a petition on Chnge.it that has 320 signatures as of late September.
Dress code remains an issue even with these petitions and protests. Students recognize the unfairness of a dress code like the one we have and won’t stop voicing their concerns until it is changed.