Staten Island Girls Fight School Dress Code

by Natalia Hadjigeorgiou

When I was in high school, I remember only seeing girls ridiculed for their tank tops or shorts. But the boys were able to walk by the deans revealing their boxers while sagging their pants or wearing tank tops, and with ease! So I can understand the frustration of the students at Tottenville High School in Staten Island.

With a new school year, a new dress code was enforced. This dress code bans tank tops, short-shorts, miniskirts, leggings, skinny jeans, headbands, halter-tops, sweats, hats, hoodies, sunglasses, and more. Before students enter the building, there are fifteen staff members outside the building hunting for a violation.

During the first two weeks of the new “Dress For Success” code landed 200 kids in detention, 90 percent of them girls, detained because they wore shorts or tank tops to stay cool in the un-air-conditioned school.  Students who were detained had to either put on a large t-shirt and gym shorts, or wait in the auditorium for their parents to bring them a different outfit.

The student body has since protested that this dress code is sexist and biased against young women. One student said it was “humiliating to be pulled aside like an object” when told her outfit was inappropriate. In response, students continued to wear crop tops and tank tops. The officers outside the school intimidated the students, and the protest was cancelled.  

In response, the school district officials released a statement saying they have the right to enforce a dress code when a student’s clothing, “creates a distraction, is dangerous, or interferes with the learning and teaching process.”


Girls have to alter their appearance to not distract their male classmates. Instead of publicly shaming these young girls for wearing shorts in warm weather, teach boys not to over sexualize the female body! By interrupting a girl’s education to force her to change clothes, you are telling her that making sure boys have a distraction free environment is more important than her education.    

One student told the Staten Island Advance, “I get that they want to teach us to respect ourselves and others, and that they want us to dress for success, but if you’re comfortable and relaxed in class – not sweltering or fearful you’re going to get pulled aside – you can pay attention better and learn.”

Cheers to that! 

Image via CBS New York. 

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