RHS’s Female Empowerment Movement Targets School Dress Code

In her monthly Revere School Committee report, the committee’s student representative Elni De Jesus said Revere High School’s Female Empowerment Movement (FEM) goal this month was to create a new RHS dress code that better represents the student community.

De Jesus said that FEM had circle discussions with students and staff to discuss the dress code in the fall and came up with ideas and solutions as well as instructions for what teachers can do if a student violates a newly adopted dress code. FEM has also used surveys and anonymous boxes to collect student opinion about the dress code.

“Most students believe that our dress code is pointed toward female students and students of color,” said De Jesus. “Many students believe the hat rule directly limits the cultural expression of students of color. FEM believes the word “distracting” in the dress code is a vague way of limiting what female students can wear, especially in warmer weather.”

De Jesus said FEM emailed numerous teachers to get their take on the dress code and De Jesus summarized some of the changes teachers have reported hearing from students.

“Some teachers reported that students stated how they should be allowed footwear even if they aren’t “backless as well as allowing headgear as they believe the policy is outdated,” said De Jesus. “Others are asking for clarity on the school dress code.”

“There’s also the belief that the dress code is subjective and used to say that women’s bodies are distracting to men,” said De Jesus. “Some teachers want to create a new policy and believe that to be able to create this new policy student input should be used to update the dress code.

De Jesus said FEM and teachers agreed that a new dress code should respect and promote all students’ identities and their self expression.

“Dress codes are obsolete and unequitable,” said De Jesus. “Students should dress in a way that shows self respect and balances freedom of expression with professionalism.”

FEM will continue to hold group school conversations to gain different points of view on what an appropriate dress code should look like at RHS in the future.

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