El Paso High School Students Stage Dress Code Protest
If you look up the definition of ambiguous in the dictionary you will see that it means "capable of being understood in two or more possible senses or ways." That makes it the perfect word to describe the dress code at El Paso High School. Here is the dress code as it is in their handbook.
Because of the ambiguity of the dress code, a student at El Paso High School was dress coded a number of times and ultimately suspended because her shoulders in a sleeveless top were deemed "distracting" as per the dress code. If you look up distracting in the dictionary you'll see it means "to draw away or divert, as the mind or attention" or "to provide a pleasant diversion for; amuse; entertain." So by definition, girl's bare shoulders draw male's away attention away and entertain them. When is this going to end? Some students at El Paso High School decided to protest to draw attention to the issue. It was a real humdinger.
Apparently something as simple as a shoulder is distracting enough to suspend a female student. I'm not sure if male student's shoulders are considered equally distracting but I am sure that we continue to sexualize and demonize girl's bodies even in 2021. We sexualize them by telling them something as simple as a shoulder is "distracting". We demonize them because we tell them that their bare skin is something that will drive a male so wild that he will be unable to concentrate. I guess El Paso High School wants to make sure that boys have a clear path to education and the girls don't derail their path forward.
I'm not sure why they aren't teaching boys that everyone has shoulders and they are often on display when an individual of either sex is swimming or working out or just going about their daily lives. I daresay that the males in El Paso High have even seen the shoulders of random strangers on the street and somehow have managed not to get so distracted that we as a society have had to ban sleeveless shirts altogether.
As you can see if you flip through the post from FitFam above, a school administrator is wearing a sleeveless shirt as she calls into question a top that another female student is wearing. I find it odd that an adult woman's bare shoulders are ok but a teenaged student's are not. I also wonder who reported the initial student's shoulders as distracting? Was it a fellow male student? A male teacher? A male administrator? This makes a difference because if you are a male employee who finds teenaged girls distracting perhaps you need to find a different career.
There is also a sentence in the dress code that "Shorts, dresses, or skirts must be long enough to cover undergarments and the entirety of the bottom." That sentence leaves a lot of room for a lot of leg to be shown and an interesting view when a female student wearing such a garment sits down at her desk, but thankfully, it's not a bare shoulder.
A bare shoulder isn't a sexy thing unless you make it one and if you make it one that's your issue, not the issue of the person whose shoulders you find distracting. If a female student has bare shoulders and it isn't expressly forbidden in the dress code for both male and female students then dress coding a student and suspending her is completely out of line. The good news is that the issue with the student at the center of this situation has been resolved in favor of the student.
It's time schools start worrying about student's bare shoulders and start worrying about their education.