Instigator / Pro

Dress codes eliminate distractions


The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.

Winner & statistics

After 1 vote and with 1 point ahead, the winner is...

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Last updated date
Number of rounds
Time for argument
Two weeks
Max argument characters
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Two weeks
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Winner selection
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Contender / Con

Affirmative : Harper Smith and Maryn Wendling
Negative : Addison Turner and Campbell Hale

Round 1
Dress code can be a very controversial topic. Especially with new ways of expression, many kids feel held back by the dress code. But when should kids be stopped? The dress code was put into place to avoid violence, bullying, and achieve more focused studies. Although there are restrictions in place, the dress code still allows for students to express themselves in a professional manner, that will set them up for their future. Certain restrictions like the length of shorts and no crop tops are there to make sure students are dressing appropriately. Though many choose to blame young men for certain dress codes, the true reason for the dress code is to create a professional working environment. Dress codes have proven to increase student achievement by encouraging students to concentrate more on their studies and less on their wardrobe. Not focusing on clothing can also save money, as there will be less pressure to keep up with expensive trends and fashions. Imposing boundaries can prevent students from resorting to extremes that can lead to unwanted consequences. School dress codes are a way to teach students the importance of a respectable appearance which is a lesson that can positively impact self-respect and self-esteem. Dress codes not only help prevent bullying and create a well-rounded working environment but also prevent gang-affiliated clothing as well as inappropriate articles of clothing that may create controversy in schools and an unsafe learning environment. Though the want to express yourself is something that we all have the right too, we should all do it while obeying the dress code to create a safe learning environment that sets us up for our future. 
While school dress codes might not be a problem for adults, it is an issue striking teens worldwide. Dress codes subject all children to a form of oppression. Li Zhou from The Atlantic says, “Dress codes—given the power they entrust school authorities to regulate student identity—can, according to students, ultimately establish discriminatory standards as the norm.” The biggest issue surrounding school dress codes is that it mainly targets young women. One example that took place at Haven Middle School in Evanston, IL, where over 500 students signed a petition opposing what they’d been told was a complete ban on leggings and yoga pants. Many girls wore yoga pants or leggings in defiance of the ban. “Not being able to wear leggings because it’s ‘too distracting for boys’ is giving us the impression we should be guilty of what guys do,” said Sophie Hasty, a 7th grader at the school, “We just want to be comfortable!” Another student from a private high school states, “I was standing next to a guy who was wearing an out-of-dress-code hoodie, and I ended up getting dress-coded for how tight my jeans were.” Both statements show the long history of how dress codes objectify women of all ages. This teaches girls that their bodies are inherently “bad,” creating a double standard. This tells the boys that they are not solely responsible for their actions. This can lead to many other issues as well. According to The Nation, this unhealthy way of thinking leads to mental health issues such as anxiety and eating disorders. With that, dress codes can affect a student’s education. A student will be pulled out of class or told they have to change, taking them out of their learning environment and missing out on essential lesson plans. This is an ongoing issue that needs to be addressed in many schools around the globe.
Round 2
As stated before, the dress code was put into place to avoid violence, bullying, and achieve more focused studies. That student would not have been pulled out of class and got told to change their clothing if they were wearing the required / proper clothing. If they were wearing what they were supposed to wear, following the dress code provided by the school, they would not have had to be taken out or missed out on any of their learning. The dress code allows the students to worry less about what they are planning on wearing and focus more on their education. Students are still able to show their emotions, personality, etc. through what they wear but what they wear to school should be appropriate to the dress code standards.

Studies have proven that dress code promotes a more serious school atmosphere that emphasizes academics and promotes good behavior. According to, studies continue to prove that a school dress code can reduce the prevalence of certain behaviors which are often expressed through wardrobes such as violence or promiscuity. The dress code prepares students for the future. They take what they learn from their dress code and apply it when they are going for an interview or an important event where they can not wear something unprofessional. School dress codes are a way to teach students the importance of a respectable appearance which is a lesson that can positively impact their self-respect and self-esteem.
Dress codes do not help to achieve more focused studies, they just cause more distractions from learning. There are many reasons why a student might not be following the dress code, especially since it is unfair. Amy Guertin, a licensed counselor, says that many religious symbols are considered against dress codes. Dress codes disrupt education because the student will be pulled out of class or told they have to change which is taking them out of their learning environment and they could be missing out on important lesson plans. They teach students to conform and do not set them up for the future. Strict dress codes prevent students from learning how to adapt their dress to different situations regarding school and work. They also create a double standard. Schools ban things like leggings, shorts, or midriff-baring tops, which is telling girls that their clothing is too distracting to boys. This tells the boys that they are not solely responsible for their actions. 
The affirmative argument that dress code eliminates distraction would only make sense if someone, usually boys, are being distracted by other people’s bodies. Dress codes are teaching girls to cover up but the boys, or anyone being “distracted”, are not in the wrong for their actions. Dress code does not improve self-esteem and being sent home as a result of a dress code violation is a self-esteem blow and can be humiliating. It can also cause the student to feel uncomfortable that teachers and fellow students might have been looking at a minor’s body in an inappropriate way. The solution shouldn’t be to enforce rules on someone’s body but to teach other students and especially teachers not to behave inappropriately and be able to control themselves. Dress codes are also subjective and one teacher might not think an outfit is inappropriate and another might. Dress codes are unfair and cause students to ask themselves why they are being dress coded when another student wearing something similar is not dress coded. 
Round 3
In the end, we believe that dress codes are put in place for many reasons. Dress codes avoid violence, bullying, and achieve more focused studies. Students are still able to express themselves in an appropriate way. They are also gaining knowledge of how to appropriately dress for future interviews or jobs, etc. “School is there to teach you how to be ready for life … the workforce. I don’t think kids should wear things to school that they wouldn’t wear to a job interview … especially in high school,” a quote from Polly Donahay, a board member from Keystone Central School District, in Pennsylvania. Having a dress code in place reduces conflict and peer pressure that goes along with one's appearance. If students follow the dress code, they worry less about getting bullied and they focus more on their academics. A dress code has also continued to prove to increase students' intelligence by helping the students focus more on what they are learning and less on what they are wearing. Lastly, in the article Educators' Dress Code Study Shows Numerous Positive Effects on, Creel states that in their study, students have proven that having a dress code in place promotes more school participation, reduced discipline violations, and improved teamwork among students. Studies have continued to prove that dress codes are effective and they make a difference on students.

I believe that the affirmative side has won this debate because it makes sense to have a dress code. It promotes a good learning environment, avoids acts of violence / bullying, and it prepares students for a successful future.

Enforcing a dress code does not eliminate distraction, it only results in more. Both the students being dress coded and the students around them are being distracted more by the interruption in their learning as a result of the dress code. Dress codes are unfair by targeting young girls and telling them their bodies are inherently sexual. The few rules in dress code targeted to young boys compared to girls is unfair. Instead of sexualizing young girls’ bodies and teaching them to cover up, we need to be teaching boys from a young age to be able to control their behaviors and to focus on themselves, not other people’s bodies. In the real world, outside of school, people will be dressing however they want so there is no reason to protect them now. Someone else’s body just existing is not a distraction and dress codes are just causing more issues in our schools. Students should have the right to choose what they want to wear and we should not be dictating other people’s choices of clothing.
In conclusion, we have confidence that the negative side has won this debate due to the unfair, targeted nature of dress codes and the distraction it causes.