raise concern within the student body.
Unfair punishment distribution is also a hot button issue. Many female students call to attention how some seem to get away with any skirt length while others are put under fire for any skirt they wear. How strictly teachers enforce skirt length rules versus boy’s hair length and facial hair is also deemed unfair by many female students.
Furthermore, what parts of the dress code apply during special events like Spirit Week and jeans days? Why are students permitted to wear jeans but girls are still prohibited from wearing crop tops or “too short” skirts?
Dakota Whitlock ‘20 can only remember one or two time boys had to stay after morning assembly to discuss the dress code in his four years in the upper school. “It was really basic: just things like hair length, no piercing, proper collared shirts and tucked in shirts.”
On the other hand, female students have had one this year already–an elaborate affair where all the female teachers stayed behind to address skirt length in particular. Embarrasingly, Dr. Elizabeth Martin had come that day to talk about a service opportunity, was present for the whole meeting.
The biggest problems girls have with the dress code, already mentioned above, were only magnified by what can be seen as missteps. The reasoning behind the most recent crackdown–protecting the girls, maintaining a level of propriety, and parent complaints–raised eyebrows through the rows.
Aside from the aforementioned dress code issues, one area where students have a lot to say is the topic of formal dress.
Recently, we saw the introduction of blazers for the girls. Yes, this makes the dress code more equal. Yes, now all of the students look uniform. But, if that is our guiding principle of uniformity, where are the pants?
Currently, the formal dress code prohibits female students from wearing pants. Special issue Lands End skirts are required, and for cold days leggings or tights are recommended. But in Roanoke where temperatures easily drop below freezing in the wintertime, is that enough? Girls say no–even the thickest tights do not guard against the cold as well as khakis.
Aside from these practical concerns, restricting female students to skirts raises another question: is it even fair?
Boys can wear pants on formal dress days, and they look professional. Why is that not the same for girls?
Schools like St Anne’s-Belfield School allow female students to wear slacks on their equivalent of formal dress days, and many other private schools are doing the same thing to modernize their uniforms.
Will North Cross ever follow in these schools’ footsteps? That remains a question that can only be answered by senior staff and the head of school.
Gracean Ratliff '23