Head, Shoulders, and Four Inches Above the Knee


To hear student opinions on the dress code, Dr. Lisa Baker held a meeting on the morning of September 28, but only five students attended.


In recent months, students across the country and on our campus have expressed their concern regarding dress codes being outdated and not fairly applied to all genders.


“I feel like it focuses mainly on more feminine things such as exposed shoulders and midriffs as well as hair color and piercings,” Senior Briana Chavez said. “I think it is especially strange that these restrictions start as early as third grade. It is a little frustrating that 8-year-olds are being taught that shoulders are inappropriate.”


The NISD handbook states, “Final determination of acceptable dress and grooming rests with the principal or his/her designee.” Dr. Baker said this means she has the authority to decide what is or isn’t passing the dress code but not to change it.


According to the NISD dress code “research has indicated that student behavior is influenced by dress and grooming”, but many disagree.


“If blue hair is distracting, then so is a blue shirt or a blue wall. And none of those things are actually distracting, it’s just color,” Junior Ella Martinez said.“We’re all mature enough to tolerate a little color.”


Sophomore Kyndle White agrees saying that she comes to school to focus on her education and not the way others dress.


Out of 584 students, 103 responded in a student survey about the dress code. Students who completed the survey echo what Martinez and White believe.


80.4% said that they thought the dress code was unfair, 9.8% said that they don’t have an opinion, and 9.8% said that they thought the dress code was fair. 98% of the 103 students said that they did not care what others were wearing. They just want to learn. 


Taft coach Merry Brown and Human Geography teacher Michael Rosser both said that, as teachers, colored hair doesn’t bother them either.  


“I think we’re at a day and age, I could care less about colored hair,”  Rosser said. “I don’t care if your hair is blue, I don’t care if it’s red, I don’t care if it’s pink. None of that bothers me.”


Coach Brown expressed a similar opinion. 


Brown said, “Doesn’t matter what your hair is, I think, as long as you are here is what’s important. And you’re getting an education.” 


Junior Ariana Gomez also doesn’t have an issue with dyed hair and a few other restricted items. 


 “First of all, spaghetti straps, we live in Texas and it gets so hot, we should be able to keep cool,” she said. “Another thing is face piercings and dyed hair, these things are so cool and don’t really have an effect on our education.” 


Though some agree with the restrictions put on student dress. 


There needs to be a degree of modesty, and wearing skirts long enough to where you aren’t flashing … isn’t too much to ask,” Junior Jordan LaQuey said. “There needs to be a line and what we have right now isn’t hurting anyone.”


Freshman Isaac Sabogal shares a similar sentiment. 


“It gives us a good amount of freedom with what we are and aren’t allowed to wear,” he said. “Sure some people complain, but those are the same people who want to show a lot of skin which can be distracting sometimes which is why the rules are there in the first place.”


Students and staff members may agree or disagree on the views of the dress code, but as the debate over the dress code continues, teachers believe in the power of words and peaceful protest. 


 “When there’s something you don’t like,” Brown said, “you got [sic] to change it, and go speak to people, then protest.”




NISD Dress Code Policy


On pages 50-51 of the NISD Secondary Student Handbook  it states,

  1. Shorts and skorts may be worn at the elementary school level. In grades three through five, they should be no more than four inches above the top of the kneecap. Shorts and skorts are prohibited in grades six through twelve.
  2. In grades three through twelve, skirts, dresses, and culottes must be no more than four inches above the top of the kneecap. There should not be a cut or slit in the clothing that extends beyond the four inch limit. These requirements also apply to school uniforms.
  3. Appropriate footwear must be worn; footwear which has toes reinforced with steel, hard plastics or similar materials are specifically prohibited.
  4. Hair must be neat and clean. Unconventional colored, multi-colored or spiked or Mohawk hair styles are not permitted.
  5. Headwear must not be worn in buildings.
  6. Any clothes that are suggestive or indecent or which cause distraction are not acceptable. Specifically, oversized clothing, tank tops, muscle shirts, halter tops, spaghetti straps, exposed backs or midriffs, and see-through garments are not permitted.
  7. Indecent/inappropriate patches, writings, or drawings on clothing are prohibited.
  8. All pants are to be full length (Capri pants should be no less than four inches below the bottom of the kneecap) and worn at the waist (no “sagging” or “bagging”). Tight fitting pants (e.g., tights, Spandex, bicycle pants) are also prohibited. Cut-offs and intentionally frayed pants are also prohibited.
  9. Body piercing jewelry is prohibited except for rings, studs or other traditional jewelry worn in the ear. Tongue rings and tongue studs are not permitted.