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Opinion: Student protests over gender-equal dress codes

“Not A Distraction” is what students in many public schools are wearing imprinted in their shirts to protest. In a recent CNN news segment, students at Buchanan High School in Fresno went to school wearing clothes from the opposite sex for a whole a day. The students believed they shouldn’t be discriminated for who they…
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/brenn1/" target="_self">Brenda Cruz</a>

Brenda Cruz

March 8, 2016

“Not A Distraction” is what students in many public schools are wearing imprinted in their shirts to protest. In a recent CNN news segment, students at Buchanan High School in Fresno went to school wearing clothes from the opposite sex for a whole a day. The students believed they shouldn’t be discriminated for who they are or for their gender in general.

Many others students in schools started joining this protest too. Oklahoma student Rose Lynn was sent home one day from school for wearing an outfit that a school administrator thought was “not covering her crotch” and it was more likely to “distract boys.” As a protest, Lynn went to school the next day with a shirt that said in the front “It doesn’t cover your crotch” and the back side it said “You’ll distract the boys.”

I believe it wasn’t right for the administrator to tell her that because she wasn’t really showing any skin. If she was showing skin, then I believe it would be understandable. But the point is students are being judged by what they wear and making assumptions about who they are.

Everyone should be free to express how they feel especially if they are being seen as “distracting.” I am a girl and would feel disappointed and discriminated for dressing how I feel is right for me. I understand the need for a dress code, but by wearing a blouse, a cardigan and leggings in Lynn’s case, does not seem distracting.

In the same news segment, there was another situation with a male student on the cheerleading team who attends West High School in Ohio. He was discriminated for wearing a bow on his head. He was denied lunch by the staff in charge of handing the food. In order to protest, the student’s friends decided to also wear bows on their heads. I believe that’s bizarre to be denied lunch because of wearing a bow on your head– it’s an accessory and not harming anyone. People should be free to be whoever they want to be. People shouldn’t be denied to be who they are.

This topic is very controversial because it doesn’t just involve those certain schools, but also all the schools in our community. Dress codes can be very complex. I understand the reason why they are strict, but it shouldn’t go up to the extreme where a student should be expelled or denied lunch. Students who are gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual also go through this type of discrimination because of the way they may dress. We as students have a voice, and if we feel something is bothering us or affecting us we should speak up to the school for help and not rejection. We should all be treated equally and the school board should take our suggestion in regulating the dress code in order to make our schools better so students can have a good education and feel comfortable in the classroom.

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