Dress code changes allow students comfort, self-expression

Prior to the start of the new school year, the school board approved dress code changes for all high schoolers in Bryan ISD. The changes include the ability to wear athletic wear and students are now allowed to have nose rings and spacers. 

“The changes were made because students requested the changes,” Principal Lane Buban said, “I took them to the Superintendent who then submitted them to the School Board, who approved the changes.”

The changes have been welcomed by students who appreciate the addition of more comfortable clothes to the dress code. 

“I’ve appreciated that we can wear athletic shorts, as those are the only way to keep my legs cool in the summer,” senior Charlie McLaughlin said, “For sweatpants it’s a great alternative to wearing jeans everyday when it’s cold outside.”

Other than comfort, McLaughlin sees relaxing the dress code as a way to help educate students and dismiss the archaic belief that violations of dress code will cause distractions that prohibit learning.

“I don’t feel like the dress code impacts my education in the least,” McLaughlin said. “What people wear really isn’t that distracting after about 3 minutes. There’s no long term distraction from what people wear.”

Teachers have seen a positive response from students with the changes and hope the trend continues to push education instead of arbitrary rules.

“I’m happy to see that the school board listened to students,” teacher Rebecca Dominy said. “As a teacher, I want to meet students where they are without adding additional obstacles, like the dress code, that become more of a distraction than what they are trying to prohibit.”

Administration also sees the changes to dress code as being an incentive for face-to-face students to be more comfortable at school.

“Relaxing the dress code has a positive impact on students’ outlook on coming to school,” Buban said. “We do need to have rules, but we need to have rules for things that affect the safety and order of the building. What people wear are not safety concerns.”

Even with the more relaxed dress code, new fashion trends still push against some of the dress code limitations. 

“I have seen more students in compliance with the dress code,” Buban said. “However, we still see minor issues with wearing ID’s and of course face coverings, but that is COVID related. You’re always going to find trends in dress that are going to push boundaries. This year for instance it is in vogue for girls to wear short cropped shirts, exposing their midriffs. Probably not the most ‘school appropriate’ clothes.”

As the school year moves forward with these changes, teachers and students alike agree that there can be more done to improve dress code. 

“So far the response has been positive but students still want more changes,” Buban said. “Personally, I’d like to see us move away from so many restrictions and just state that students must wear ‘school appropriate’ clothing.”