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School Dress Codes: Can Boys Wear Skirts?

With the ever-changing rules on being equal, questions are arising questioning whether it is appropriate for boys to wear girls clothing. Most schools have dress codes, such as girls having a proper length skirt. However, what if a boy was wearing the skirt, if it was the proper length, could he?

woman%20in%20tux.jpgCross-dressing teens are testing the boundaries around the country. For example, in Houston, a senior was sent home because his hair violated the length rules, which stated that the hair could be no longer than the bottom of a regular shirt collar. In Cobb County, Georgia, a school sent a boy home because he wore makeup, wigs and skinny jeans. Another case occurred in August in Mississippi, in which a senior’s photo was banned from the yearbook because she was wearing a tuxedo.

This is not the story everywhere, though. For example, in a Tucson high school, a freshmen girl who identifies as a male was nominated as the homecoming prince. A gay male student in Los Angeles was crowned prom queen.

Schools and the public are changing viewpoints on these types of scenarios. In many cases, the adults become the police of the dress code, and follow cultural trends. In some cases, younger generations are simply more willing to accept such changes.

Schools regularly ban things that may be gang or sex related, or promotes drug use. However, when schools try to put in place codes that limit expression of sexual orientation of gender variance, the schools are forced to consider antidiscrimination policies.

Schools will eventually need to take these matters head on with more than 4000 gay and straight alliance clubs in high schools around the country. Even elementary schools are seeing these topics come up. In some high schools, educators are stating that schools should not be the public stage for working out private identity issues. Rather, high schools are supposed to be places for academic and social training. Administrators often rely on the dress code to help keep structure in the day. Cross dressing students cause disruptions, which is counterproductive to the instructional day.

In other schools, such as those in Pima County, Arizona where anti discrimination policies have been put in place, it is not uncommon to see boys wearing makeup and girl clothing, nor is it uncommon to see girls wearing big t-shirts and basketball shorts.

At the same time, educators have to take into consideration the student’s overall safety. If a child comes to school wearing clothes of another gender, and that child is harassed, it is up to the educators to help protect the student. That is not always easy. Even using the bathroom as a transgender student can be incredibly worrisome. Defining this fine line is something that schools across the country will need to do.