The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

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Ninio (far right) and family traveled Puerto Rico over winter break during Ninios time at JDS. Photo provided by Gili Schisterman.
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Is there a gender bias in the school attire policy?

Ari Kittrie
The new school attire policy, in effect, bans short shorts and tank tops.

With temperatures in the upper 90s, junior Aviva Stern showed up to school in shorts, clothes that would be comfortable to wear in the extreme heat. What she did not expect was to be dress-coded for the length of her shorts.

“I was called into the office and was told I broke dress code and was then given these really long shorts to wear that I didn’t really like,” Stern said. “It didn’t really feel like it was fair.”  

Many students, myself included, are unclear as to what the expectations of the school attire are because of the vague language used in the family handbook. On top of that, students who identify as female feel as though they are more subject to being dress coded because of the limitations put on clothing that girls usually wear. 

“I think the issue is that it’s just hard for girls because if you go into a store, and you want to get shorts, they’re all going to be really short and that’s just the style,” Stern said. “It’s hard when it’s hot out, and you can’t wear the shorts that were made for you.”  

It wasn’t this hard last year. After the dress code committee was created in December 2021, the school attire policy was changed in the 2022-2023 school year to be more accommodating to all styles of clothing. However, this school year, the policy was altered again but without any student input, stirring many questions and concerns from the student body, especially from those who identify as female.   

Currently, the school attire policy states, “shorts, dresses and skirts must be no shorter than mid-thigh; midriffs must be covered; and sleeveless shirts, not tank tops, can be worn.”

While the description of last year’s school attire may have also been confusing, as the attire was only illustrated through a picture without any explanation, the verbal version is not any more comprehensible than it was in the year prior. Many of us are confused as to what “mid-thigh” means, and the difference between a tank top and a sleeveless top. The school should provide an illustration as well as a description of the school attire so that students can understand what is appropriate or inappropriate to wear to school. 

Style differences between female and male identifying individuals play a big role in the attire policy. Most shorts that are sold to females are a much shorter length than shorts that male identifying individuals typically wear. I, and many other girls, do not feel comfortable wearing long shorts to school, as that is something that boys commonly dress in.

While students should wear clothing that is deemed appropriate for school, it is extremely important to be comfortable while learning. For instance, when it is 95 degrees outside, I am skeptical of wearing shorts to school in fear of getting dress-coded and am instead left with no choice but to wear pants on a hot day, which is uncomfortable.

In addition to being disappointed that female students are once again being scrutinized for their attire, I’m concerned that student voice has not been included in this issue.  I was very excited two years ago when a dress code committee was established that allowed students to share their perspectives and shape the school’s policy. Yet, the changes that the committee made only served for a year, and we are now back to a similar school attire system that we had prior to the committee. It is disappointing that students no longer have a say in the attire policy, as it was beneficial to have students weighing in on what the attire policy should be.

CESJDS should have an attire policy that requires students to dress appropriately for learning. However, the attire policy should also allow students to dress comfortably, should be laid out to students in a clear and descriptive fashion, and should value students’ perspectives.

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About the Contributors
Cati Werbin-Gradel, Arts and Entertainment Editor, Director of Social Media
Cati is excited to continue her work as A&E Editor as well as Social Media director. She is looking forward to continuing to write and edit articles as well as design creative spreads for print. She is also excited to upload engaging content to the Lion’s Tale social media accounts. Other than Lion’s Tale, Cati is involved in the Varsity Dance Team, Health and Wellness program, and President of the History club. She is looking forward to working with the rest of the Lion’s Tale staff and making it a great year.  
Ari Kittrie, Managing Editor, Web
Being a Reporter and Opinion Editor during the last few years, Ari is ready to take on the position of Managing Editor. His experience includes being an Election Judge for the Montgomery County Board of Elections and volunteering for various politicians from all levels of government. Additionally, Ari enjoys in his free time wrestling, volleyball, and sometimes cooking.  

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