Issue 4.2 Pascale Burnett

The Truly Never-Ending Dress Code Debate

Over two months have passed since Rocky Hill School changed their dress code and students and faculty alike still have some questions about it.  With these changes, I decided to take a look at how members of our community are feeling about the update to the dress code. I began by sitting down with Matt Gnolfo, Director of Diversity, to get his view on the changes to the dress code. He told me that although he feels the dress code has been a success, we still have more steps to take in the dress code journey.  Specifically, he said that we may have missed the opportunity to talk about certain parts of the dress code that have since become a point of contention.

The example that seems to be most important to students is the hooded sweatshirts. Both students and teachers alike have expressed that the hooded sweatshirts are one of the biggest issues. The current dress code states that “hooded sweaters” are allowed but “hooded sweatshirts” are not. However, Mr. Gnolfo says that the term “hooded sweater” is loose and unfortunately, people tend to look for loopholes when it comes to the definition of “hooded sweater”. Mr. Gnolfo also brought up the topic of college sweatshirts. It seems to be a tradition at RHS for seniors to wear a hooded sweatshirt displaying the college(s) they got into. Mr. Gnolfo feels that we potentially passed up an opportunity to address these sweatshirts in the dress code. Although technically, these sweatshirts are against dress code, students have been permitted to wear them in the past. However, Mr. Gnolfo feels the problem is not the look of the sweatshirts but perhaps what they represent. He said that they can make students feel bad when they see one of their peers proudly displaying the hoodie of a school they didn’t get into.

The other part of the dress code still still being discussed is facial piercings. Currently, the dress code doesn’t say anything about students being able/not able to wear facial piercing. Some people are saying that facial piercings are a way of expressing one’s personality and should not be prohibited. However, other members of our community feel that by allowing facial piercings, we’re not properly representing our school to the community. Either way, the dress code committee has been discussing these issues and hopes to come to a conclusion on the right decision for our school. No matter which way the chips fall, Mr. Gnolfo says that he, “doesn’t see any changes being made mid-year”. If they do see a need to revise the dress code, it would be something they do at the end or beginning of the year.

The biggest frustration for a lot of students seems to be the enforcement of the dress code. One student that I interviewed said, “Why did we take the time to make these changes if they’re not enforced?”. They suggest that perhaps the reason the dress code is being broken is because students aren’t taking it seriously. “If students don’t think there are consequences for their actions, they’re more likely to make the wrong choice” and as always, students claim that certain students are targeted more than others.

Now that we have that out of the way,  we should take a moment to recognize the people who have worked hard to enforce and revise the dress code. The dress code committee strives to please all the members of our community. A member the of the committee said that, “The committee did their best and although the current dress code isn’t perfect, we’re taking baby steps in the right direction”. Some students have suggested the dress code be an ever changing entity and every year or two, the committee sits down to review the dress code and suggest changes.

When it comes to the perfect dress code, Rocky Hill is not quite there yet, but it seems as though we’re moving in the right direction.

Pascale Burnett
<p>Pascale Burnett is in 10th grade at Rocky Hill School and is excited to be a co-editor in chief of The Tide. She joined The Tide to pursue her passion for writing and journalism. Pascale enjoys writing about controversial issues and reflecting the opinions of Rocky Hill community members. Pascale’s other interests are limited to wearing sweaters and eating cheese.</p>

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