NISD Dress Code Needs Update

                       Illustration by: Aleyna “Alen” Salinas.

The NISD dress code has outdated and traditionalist ideas such as, the enforcement of naturally-colored hair and ripped jeans only being allowed if the holes are less than four inches above the knee. It dictates what students can wear, but now the time has come for it to change. 


Finding clothes in stores today that fit the dress code is challenging.  The dress code states that “because fads in dress and grooming are subject to sudden, and sometimes radical change, a basic rule to remember is that student dress and grooming should not be suggestive or indecent, or so bizarre and unusual as to detract from the classroom environment.” It acknowledges that clothing trends change, but it doesn’t allow for those trends to be implemented in the student dress code. While some trends that are popular today may have been bizarre when the dress code was last written, they are no longer considered unusual by today’s standards.


Another issue with the dress code is that it states that “research has indicated that student behavior is influenced by student dress and grooming.” First of all, what research and when was it conducted? They don’t cite the research, and could that research be outdated, too? Second, if student dress and grooming are indicators of student behavior, why aren’t more disruptions being reported in classes where students are not in dress code? Are we to believe if a student has unnaturally colored hair, they won’t be able to function appropriately in class or that their classmates will be so distracted that they won’t be able to concentrate and learn the content being presented? 


Additionally, if this is the district-mandated dress code, why do all of the NISD high schools have different dress codes? Each campus varies in its enforcement or interpretation of the district dress code. Campuses such as Stevens and O’Connor allow unnaturally colored hair and facial piercings. 


The dress code needs to get with the times, it needs to be consistent across the district,  and students should act now to start the process of advocating for it to be updated. According to Dr. Lisa Baker, she is not sure when the last time the board voted on the dress code, so here is what she recommends students do it to address this issue:


  1. You have to go through the proper channels (chain of command).
  2. Have actual research that supports the change request.
  3. Prepare the request in writing. 
  4. Then the principal can take it up the chain.