Dress Codes and the Roles They Play in Sexism and Racism


Michigan Student Caucus Proposal Template for  Summers-Knoll Students 2019 Part 1: BACKGROUND AND RESEARCH PROCESS Context


  1. What is a current bill or law that relates in some way to your proposal? Use the legislative database found here: There is no bill about dress codes, as it is different in every school. https://www.a2schools.org/ (Not all of the schools have their dress code shown.)

  2. How do these policies make a difference in the lives of students across Michigan? It would be different for each school, but it would stress students out less because they don’t have to worry about wearing the right thing, let them work more freely, and there would be less sexism and racism in schools.

  3. How and where did you learn about the issues underlying your proposal? I’ve read books, read articles, and looked at graphs.

  4. Link to your media artifact(s) giving background on the issue: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1XBF9gT9_a9lstWjqmM-LNkXJiLEDWd3g


Research process


  1. To whom did you talk about this issue to learn more? 

My grandmother has a friend who is very interested in this topic and knows quite a bit, and some of my friends in public schools have had interactions with dress codes.

  1. What did you initially think about your topic and how did your thinking change over time? At first I was just going to do sexist dress codes, but then realized that racism is actually a very large part in it as well, which people often don’t realize. 

  2. What was the most significant article/video/report/website that you used and how did it impact your research? The article in which the nine-year-old girl was told her shoulders were too distracting for the other nine-year-olds in the classroom proved my point, showing that this is a real issue that actually happens, and is often unfair and is not unprecedented.

Part 2: FORMAL PROPOSAL Preambulatory clauses 


WHEREAS.... dress codes can be unfairly pointed at girls, and can be a way to limit their creativity and expression. 

WHEREAS.... it’s easy for POC and other non-white people to feel discriminated against when teachers and scholl administrators choose to violate them when they didn’t violate someone white. For example, an Asian student once wore a plaid skirt that went down to just around her knees to her public high school. She got coded and was told to call her parents, who were working at the time, to come in with a new skirt or pair of pants. She offered to cover it up herself with a trench coat, but the school workers refused.

WHEREAS.... schools seem to think that it is the girls fault whether the boy gets distracted by what she’s wearing, and is she is wearing something that is deemed inappropriate, she should be taken out of class and punished; in so saying that what a girl is wearing is more important than her education. For example, I read an article about a woman who’s nine year old daughter was told to wear a hoodie to cover her shoulders, because they were too distracting for the other nine year old students in the class.

Operative clauses



  1. There shall be looser rules around clothing, and not having separate rules for girls and boys.

  2. That it is mandatory for everyone to have sweaters or flannels so they can cover up in class if they need to.

  3. That  the students take control, and have them vote on what they find distracting, and what type of clothing they find the most innapropriate. The students would then propose that to the teacher and/or administrators. Why are the teachers/administrators in charge of the dress codes? If there are people affected by the clothing people wear, it should be the students, not the school workers.


What are three reasonable arguments against this proposal?

  1. Sometimes, dress codes are necessary for students of all genders and identities, because some clothes are actually not appropriate for a learning environment.

  2. What if a student can’t afford a sweater or flannel?

  3. Not all dress codes are unfair, and if it’s up to the students, then they could all work together to say no dress code which can sometimes end up being problematic, if the students aren’t thinking enough about the clothes that they buy and wear.

Costs and funding:
  1. What are some costs associated with your proposal? 

Schools may provide sweaters or flannels for students who can’t afford it, which costs money.

  1. How will you pay for your proposed bill? From what sources could the funding come?

There’s no need to pay to change a dress code.

  1. Who (people or groups) might object to funding your proposal?



List all websites, articles, reports, videos, or other resources you used to research for this project. You do not have to include formal citations. **Eighth graders only: After each source, write 1-2 sentences about why you chose this source and why you trusted it. 


I chose this article to include in my artifact and proposal because it brushed upon both sexist codes and racist punishments. I trusted it not only because there was a link to one of the girl’s Instagram, where she talked about all of the things that were mentioned in the article, as well as doing outside research on the movement they started.



I chose this article to include in my artifact and proposal because it talked about how unfair punishments are very real, and that some school workers will not think about the age and maturity levels of the students that they are teaching.


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Total votes: 26