Petition Forms Asking Carlsbad High School to Alter Dress Code

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Kyle Turner

Students display the common strap rule in dress codes.

Jake McAllister, Staff Writer

Dress codes have become the norm at schools across the United States. Dress codes are a set of rules, usually written and posted, specifying the required manner of dress at a school or institution.  

A petition formed by Carlsbad High senior, Alex Brown, urging a change in the dress code has floated around Carlsbad High and accumulated over 870 signatures from students in all grades.

The petition calls for changes in the permitted dress attire monitored by the school. This petition made waves throughout the school and caused administration to potentially consider the changes offered from the petition.   

Carlsbad Unified School District (CUSD) sent representatives to CHS’s English classes to speak about dress code policies. Some students, however, were rubbed the wrong way when they were told that the dress code would be more strictly enforced.

“The dress code sends a direct attack on girls and their freedom to express themselves through clothing being stripped away by their high school,” Brown said, the architect behind the petition.

After the representatives gave their speeches, Brown decided to lead the coalition of protesters seeking change in the way schools judge what is and what isn’t appropriate.

Brown represented the students of CHS at a CUSD board meeting where she voiced her opinion to the decision makers of the Carlsbad Unified School District.

“I am not here to just question the stricter enforcements of the dress code, but to question why a dress code is needed at all. A key lesson that I learned throughout my life is that if someone is going to be sexist, offensive, or inappropriate, it really doesn’t matter what the victim is wearing,” Brown said at the podium.   

Torrey Pines High School and San Marcos High School also followed in the footsteps of Brown’s petition and began their own petitions. Some have sent persuasive essays to their school’s administration.

Grace Klemmer, a sophomore at San Marcos High, wrote an essay, “The Sexism Behind School Dress Codes,” which addressed the belief that the dress code implemented by schools nationwide only targets female students.

“I am very passionate about equality, so getting rid of the dress code is something I’m very passionate about, and hearing that schools like CHS are taking a stand is really encouraging,” Klemmer said.

She is not alone in that belief. Makalya Engebrits is a junior at Carlsbad High, and her signature was also on the petition.

“I do believe that girls are picked on more for the dress code and that it should be equal for boys and girls,” Engebrits said.

CHS senior Kalee Graff also expressed her displeasure with the dress code and was also one of the many signatures on the petition.

“We are almost or already adults and we still have to be guided on what we wear because of the ‘distraction’ it makes for guys? Guys are guys and [girls] shouldn’t be punished for it,” Graff commented.

Not every student agrees with the reasoning behind the petition, however. Some girls just want to wear strapless shirts that only reveal shoulders, others want more. That is where school administrations have tried to draw the line for years.

Mackenzie Huemoeller, a junior at CHS, signed the petition but does not want the dress code to be completely abolished.

“I support [the petition] and I do not support it at the same time because it does need to be updated. I think that the dress code is good under some circumstances, [as] some people would take advantage of no dress code,” Huemoeller said.  

The effects of the petition have even made their way to Sage Creek High School as well. Olivia Pomerleau, a junior at Sage Creek, believes that the dress code is completely necessary and that if a dress code isn’t enforced, more issues will arise.

“This petition that is going around Carlsbad is overkill. The dress code does allow girls to express themselves, but it also keeps them modest,” Pomerleau said.    

“I think it’s pointless honestly,” said Ethan Sakata, a junior at Sage Creek. “I give Alex Brown and the girls at CHS props for trying to instill change, but I don’t really see it working out and I don’t believe that it should be changed in the first place.”

Editor’s Note: The title has since been updated from “Petition Forms After Carlsbad High School Alters Dress Code” to “Petition Forms Asking Carlsbad High School to Alter Dress Code”. We regret the error and any confusion it may have caused.