The words on these shirts may seem familiar, but in a different context. #notAdistraction is a Twitter trend that went viral due to the significant increase in students breaking dress code, particularly women. The question remains, are these students actually breaking dress code or are the standards set too high for what they are expecting of female students coming to school?

You’ve probably come across news articles about students breaking dress code or seen viral Facebook posts from angered parents and siblings about their child being sent home from school for violating these rules just about every other day right? That is because it does happen that often and there has been a rise in this number every year. However, look closely at these articles. Is a 21 page dress code for prom really necessary, where 20 of the 21 pages are directed towards women? What about being sent home for exposing your shoulders? Or even exposing your collarbone? And I know there is disagreement about leggings being considered pants but so much so that students can’t wear them to school?

Almost all of these articles cite the reason for the suspension or for being sent home was that it was a “distraction” to other students. Is it not more of a disruption to be called into the principal’s office, have to miss class, and be sent home just to change clothes? Or if given a set of new clothes, it might end up as another “shame suit” fiasco. Other times the student would be sent to in school suspension. These students would still be allowed on school premises but would just be in a different classroom. Instead of attending valuable school time, these students would have to find some other time to make up the assignments and learn the material.

I remember in my high school, the female students would always get frustrated for being called out on dress code because they were often so subjective. “Inappropriate necklines” can constitute a variety of clothes depending on who is judging this attire. I remember it was often better to play on the safe side and never wear a tank top because those were one of the things most called out on. Although, I would always see my male peers wearing tank tops that exposed more skin than mine did that were never called out. It also became very subjective upon body shape. Girls were not allowed to wear leggings but were allowed to wear yoga pants. However, if a girl with a curvier figure wore the same yoga pants that another, differently bodied, student wore the same yoga pants, the curvier figure was almost always guaranteed to be called out for “inappropriate clothing”.

Most high schools dress codes are very subjective and mostly target women. There is a double standard between what is deemed appropriate for men and what is appropriate for women, a topic that has been highly criticized in the media lately. The education of the women that they are missing out on when they are sent home is often neglected but is one point that needs to be brought to attention more.

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