High school students respond to change in the dress code

%28left%29+Shacory+Williams%2C+sophomore%2C+and+%28right%29+Willow+Pulford%2C+junior%2C+discussing+new+head+wrap+dress+code+over+lunch.+
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High school students respond to change in the dress code

(left) Shacory Williams, sophomore, and (right) Willow Pulford, junior, discussing new head wrap dress code over lunch.

(left) Shacory Williams, sophomore, and (right) Willow Pulford, junior, discussing new head wrap dress code over lunch.

Jessica Carter

(left) Shacory Williams, sophomore, and (right) Willow Pulford, junior, discussing new head wrap dress code over lunch.

Jessica Carter

Jessica Carter

(left) Shacory Williams, sophomore, and (right) Willow Pulford, junior, discussing new head wrap dress code over lunch.

Haile Emerson, Staff Writer

This year at Grand Center Arts Academy, there have been many changes including a new Principal; Dr. Shane Hopper. A new set of guidelines have been implemented into the rulebook, including the dress code change. The dress code shifted due to suspicion on “gang affiliation” and “over-exposure.” 

Many students retaliated by protesting, deliberately breaking the dress code. One of the main organizing students, junior T’Mya Pulphus, felt the new policy directly affected targeted people like her.

 “I first had an issue when I saw the policy on a poster in advisory, which bothered me because this policy basically banned not only the freedom to express oneself in a supposed ‘creative setting’ but those policies were also racially biased. The restrictions encompassed much of my wardrobe. I felt like this was discriminatory towards people of color and women,” Pulphus said. 

Some students picked on the issue immediately and began to chime in, in support of their peers that were directly affected by the changes. 

“I’ve noticed that people were angry because the new system challenged their culture and creativity. Personally I don’t wear head-wraps or crop-tops but I felt obligated to support the cause,” said junior Chima Mbionwu.

This immediately got the attention of faculty and administrators, who responded accordingly addressing issues with the previous dress code. They included their views towards the issue. 

“I spent lots of time last year observing and I saw some dress I did not find appropriate. I didn’t want to make any drastic changes in the middle of the year. Now, don’t get me wrong I understand artistic expression, I’m an artist myself, but we must notice what’s appropriate. Students don’t have uniforms and I don’t want to be too rigid in thinking but we must maintain a professional environment. I don’t want to infringe upon your creativity,” said Head of School, Ashley Olson.

Much of student disapproval fell on Dr. Shane Hopper, the new High School Principal. He expressed his thoughts.

“I didn’t have anything to do with the dress code change, it was already in effect when I arrived. I merely enforced the rules. I truly respect the students involved and I try to maintain and healthy environment for everyone,” said Dr. Hopper. 

Olson also spoke about the reaction she predicted from students.

 “I expected student push back, and I think it’s important for students to use their voices, I don’t expect students to agree with every policy but we’re just doing what we believe is in the schools best interest. I actually respect people speaking their mind and we will always listen, then make decisions,” said Olson.

The policy has since changed to better include more students and their clothing preferences. The dress code now allows one inch or less of midriff and head wraps that do not cover the face.

  “I have respect for the pushback, students have a right to expression, being new here, I’m learning the climate and adjusting accordingly,” said Dr. Hopper.

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