This research will specifically focuses on North Carolina and the city of Durham. Historically, dress code policies have not prioritized how girls feel in their clothing as opposed to how they look. Contemporary dress code policies promote negative body esteem, sexualize women, and do not maintain healthy learning environments.This research will culminate in the recommendation of more inclusive policies to support equitable education access and not reinforce gender stereotypes.
Dress codes are currently a hot topic in North Carolina. In 2019, DPS named girls-only dress codes as unconstitutional. This case brings attentionand much needed lightto the change that Durham Public Schools aretrying to bring about to their school system. “Tough decisions are made when it comes to dress code and it may not always be right the first time” -DPS Board of Education Vice Chairman Steve Unruhe.
African American girls are two times more likely to be subjected to discipline for minor violations, such as dress code violations. The history of dresscode policy, in general, had a consistent connotation of reinforcing gender specific stereotypes. The Durham Public School system has made gradual changes to their dress code policies, but more can be done to achieve higher inclusivity and protection of black middle school girls.
Findings comparing two different public school systems:
* Clothing worn in such a manner so as to reveal underwear, cleavage, or bare skin between the upper chest and mid-thigh
* Student dress codes and administrative enforcement should not reinforce or increase marginalization or oppression of any group based on race, body sex/type, personal style...
* Basic Principle: Certain body parts must be covered for all students
* Clothes must be worn in a way such that genitals, buttocks, and nipples are covered with opaque material. Cleavage should not have coverage requirements. All items listed in the "must wear" and "may wear" categories below must meet this basic principle.
Include specific language that reassures student dress codes will not reinforce gender stereotypes, marginalization or oppression of any group.
Enforcement should be consistent with Durham Public Schools overall discipline plan.