Dress Code Policy Stirs Controversy

Although the Francis Lewis High School dress code applies to both male and female students, it has become a controversial topic because the enforced dress policy is different from the stated dress policy, thereby leading to criticism that the policy is not uniformly applied.  Students have also stated that they believe implicit bias plays a role with an unclear policy, and therefore female students are targeted. 

Dress Code and Implicit Bias

Enforced policy vs. Stated policy

The dress code that is stated on banners in the hallways does not currently match the policy that is being enforced on campus. For example, the signs in the hallway explicitly state that no tank tops are allowed. However, according to Principal Dr. Marmor, tank tops no longer violate the school dress code. As a result, students feel that the dress code isn’t being applied equally.

“I wear whatever I want and I’ve never been dress coded, so it’s fine to me, but I know other people who cover up and they always get dress coded,” Francis Lewis student Fiorella Dasilba said.  “My friend did get dress coded and she was wearing just a tank top. I think it’s unfair.”

Dr. Marmor acknowledged that the stated policy does not match the enforced policy, and that the school will be working to address this issue.

“Over time, there has been separation between the dress code as it has been written for many, many years and the dress code as it has been enforced,” Dr. Marmor said.  “The dress code will be updated so that the written dress code matches the enforced dress code.”

Dr. Marmor also stated that a committee would be created to address the issue.

“What we will be doing is creating a school wide panel that consists of all the members of our school community – parents, teachers, students, administration – and we’re going to rewrite and modernize the dress code so that the enforced dress code matches the written dress code,” Dr. Marmor said.  “That is going to happen probably very early at the beginning of next year.”

Guidance counselor Ms. Barnes encourages students to reach out to administrators to address their concerns. 

“I think if students want to be empowered, they should ask for a committee and actually sit down with administrators as well as their teachers and parents and see what would be fair,” Ms. Barnes said. “What is the appropriate attire?”

Additional reporting by Selina Lin and Emily Chen.