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The Contender
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Schools dress codes should be better enforced

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/20/2014 Category: Fashion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,598 times Debate No: 65535
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (14)
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School dress codes be better enforced. I go around my high school and see popular girls wearing very short shorts which is a violation of the dress code. Yet they never get told to changed. Why? Because they are popular and everyone loves them. Then you see average girls wear shorts to their mid thigh and then get told to change. If you have a dress code enforce it on all cliques.


I accept. I'll be arguing that schools should enforce the dress code as they see fit. I'll first respond to her argument than construct my own.

His/Her Argument: People are inconsistent in applying the standard

    • First, this is an inevitability. Unless you're advocating that we have people screen students as they walk in the door with a ruler, it's almost always going to be a "Does it look okay" kind of thing. Which means it's always going to be subject to personal opinion and beliefs. Saying "We should enforce it more strictly" doesn't actually mean it's going to get enforced more strictly.

    • Second, that doesn't actually mean we should enforce it more strictly. If people aren't actually enforcing the rule fairly, that doesn't mean we should make the rule harsher, rather just get them to enforce the rule in the first place.

    • Third, hell, I'll even contest that this rule is something we should be enforcing in the first place. The amount of time and effort we'd need to put in to enforcing the rule more strictly would be a much larger distraction than the smaller skirts will ever be, meaning a larger harm to the educational process and a bigger reason to not enforce the rules more strictly.

Like, if anything you're argument sounds like a rant against a specific teacher/coach than against the rule in general. If that's the case, I'm sorry that this is something that happened to you, but really that's not a problem with how the rule is being enforced, but rather who's enforcing it. And that's not something you can fix by changing the rule itself.

Neg Argument One: Impossibility

  • To begin with, what someone considers to be "too short" and "too long" is pretty close to entirely subjective. Short of pulling out the ruler, what I consider too short could be just fine to you, or vice versa. And if there's no way to actually impliment it objectively, then it's kind of impossible to really impliment it more than it already is: it's still going to hit the same problems it's hitting now.
  • Moreover, there's no actual brightline on what "stricter" even means. Does that mean you just put the teachers through a five minute meeting telling them to do their jobs? Or to set up security guards in front of every entrance to the school, armed with mean looks, rulers, and bada** sunglasses? The lack of a brightline on what we should call "stricter" enforcement could lead to a slippery slope into just absolute tyrranical rule of the school over the student.
  • Furthermore, making the rule better enforcved doesn't actually solve the problem of getting it better enforced. If teachers aren't being objective in their application of the rule, then making the rule harsher isn't going to make them enforce the rule, if anything it would deter them from having to do the paperwork.
Debate Round No. 1


But if a girl is wearing shorts that have her butt hanging out it will distract people. Also if a popular girl could wear booty shorts but a average girl can't wear shorts that fall to her mid-thigh it will make the average girl terrible.
I understand that you can't chase every girl/boy down with a ruler but the teachers should look at what the students are wearing in their class room. If they have rules that aren't enforced they should just get rid of them.


I'm just gonna start out by responding to her newer arguments then extending out my responses that she dropped.

Her Argument: Distraction
  • First, there's really no distraction. It's hard to get distracted by someone's a** when that a** is planted in a chair. The only places where people could get "distracted" by someone's clothing is where they can see them fully, and that's not in the classroom.
  • Second, trying to enforce this rule in the classroom --- her method of the teachers checking out what each and every student is wearing --- is going to be a larger distraction to the classroom environment than any piece of revealing clothing could ever be. It takes away valuable class time where people could be learning and the teacher instructing to be used by a ruler measuring a skirt. Moreover, teachers trying to check everyone isn't going to work because a) teacher's aren't always in their rooms, meaning that students could potentially walk in before the teacher can "check them", b) if the teachers are the ones making bad decisions, placing the entirety of the rule-enforcing process into their awful hands instead of just most of it is only going to make the problem worse.

Her Argument: Makes girls feel bad because the rule isn't being applied when it should be
  • First, this doesn't actually mean that the rule is bad. If people are applying the rule in really bad ways and not where it should be, that doesn't mean that the rule is wrong and it needs to be changed, rather we need to make sure that people are enforcing it in the ways it was meant to be enforced. There's no reason to make it harsher when just applying the current, not-as-harsh rule correctly fixes all the issues my oppnent has.
  • Second, this argument works against my opponent because harsher rulings of a dress code makes the rule entirely sexist(1). The rule is almost entirely used to punish girls for their clothing, and no effort is put to condoning boys who wear clothing that violates the code. Even look at the language my opponent uses to talk about who is affected by the rules: it's entirely feminine (she, her, etc.). This shifts the fault from faulty application of the rules onto the girl's choice in clothing, which is a) sexism, and b) just a wrong placement of blame, otherwise known as "slut shaming". This means that girls will be far more harmed and feel worse with a harsher dress code.

With that let's go to my arguments.

First, she entirely drops the impossibility argument, saying that the dress code rule is impossible to actually objectively enforce. This si because a) what people consider too short and too long is entirely subjective, b) there's no brightline on how "strict" we should make the rule, and c) even if we make it stricter, that doesn't actually solve the problem.

The most important parts here are a) and c). a) is what is causing the problems my opponent complains about. The inherent subjectivity of what we consider to be a violation causes wrong applications of the rules. This means that fixing a) --- i.e. making people not subjective (ignoring for a moment that this isn't possible to do) --- actually fixes the problem, not by changing the rule.

c) is also important because even if we do what she's asking us to do, we don't actually fix any of the problems. The reason for that is because a) is the actual problem here, not the dress code. She's trying to fix the dress code, not trying to fix a).

(1) -;

Debate Round No. 2


It would help if parents cared what their child wears. Also why does the school system have a rule/policy in place if they don't enforce it?

Even though a girl is sitting down doesn't mean her butt isn't showing. The process of checking the short length wouldn't be obnoxious like the skirt length checking, it would be quick. If the butt is out of the shorts then the teacher would ask them to change.


I'd love it if pro could use a different link to the article she's trying to reference. It's being taken from a database that I don't have access to.

I want to touch on a few key things before we go into the specific responses to her previous round.

To begin with, I want to reference my argument that the entire policy of asking someone to change into something more "acceptable" if their choice of clothing doesn't meet the "standards" is what's known as "slut-shaming". She directly links into slut-shaming when she starts talking about "If the butt is out of the shorts then the teacher would ask them to change.". It's effectively demeaning the girls---and it's specficially girls, since guys are never the targets of this kind of policy---and harms their self-worth. This was touched on in the previous source I linked in the last round. Slut-shaming is going to have multiple impacts on education ins chools, and thus the round.

    • First, it's going to hamper the girl's confidence in themselves because all they're being seen as is a distraction in the learning process of men instead of as actual people, which a) encourages sexism in the schooling process and b) harms the self-worth of the individual girls affected by this sexist policy, making them less wanting to go to school to learn.

    • Second, it's going to encourage sexism in other places. Guys are going to learn that women have to conform to other people's interests from watching them constantly have to conform how they look in school, which is only going to lead to other sexist practices when those guys grow up and enter the workforce.

None of this was ever responded to, and thus a reason to not allow the clothing policy to become any stricter/harsher.

Also, for the second round in a row, she never responds to the argument I make about how trying to ojectively enforce the policy isn't possible, thus making it stricter doesn't actually solve for anything. If it doesn't solve for anything, then there's no reason to do it.

Now to respond to her specific arguments.

She wrote: "It would help if parents cared what their child wears."
    • All this is doing is making the presumption that what the girls are wearing is wrong and needs changing, which is a part of what we're debating.

She wrote: "Also why does the school system have a rule/policy in place if they don't enforce it?"

  • First, the debate isn't about that if they are enforcing it or not, rather if they're enforcing it well and if changing the ruling to be stricter/harsher would be beneficial. Even your arguments are saying that they're just being really bad about how they enforce the rule, not that they aren't enforcing it entirely.
  • Second, even if they just aren't enforcing it at all, hell if I know lol. I'm not a school admin. It's really irrelevant if they aren't enforcing it at all right now since what we're asking is a hypothetical "what would happen if we did this" kind of thing anyway.

She wrote: "Even though a girl is sitting down doesn't mean her butt isn't showing."
  • is it not? I don't see a way to physically show off your butt when your butt is seated in a chair...

And finally, she wrote: "The process of checking the short length wouldn't be obnoxious like the skirt length checking, it would be quick."

  • First, she gives you no reason to believe that it would be quick, while I listed off multiple problems with this kind of strategy earlier in the debate.
  • Second, even if it would be quick, it would a) still bite into the harms of slut-shaming, and b) still wouldn't even solve for the initial problem in the first place because it's still the faulty teachers who are the real problem doing the enforcing of the rule.
Debate Round No. 3


Okay let's get what I am trying to say straight. School dress codes aren't enforced equally. I am not talking about the policy in general. If a school has the policy it should be enforced or not be there at all. My reasoning behind this is that if a girl is told to change and the girl next to her has shorts shorter than her she will feel like a slut. Also if guys can run around in bro tanks and girls can't wear a tank top it makes the girl feel lower than the guy in a bro tank. This is why I am saying that the dress code should be better enforced. The enforcers are just sexist and biased.


Again, my opponent makes no resonse as to how enforcing the policy "better" isn't actually possible to do because of the inherent subjectivity to it, as well as enforcing it "better" has no kind of brightline as to what constitutes "better". This means that it's impossible to actually do what she wants to do, meaning there's no reason to waste our time trying to do something impossible.

Also, she tries to leverage the feeling of "having to change when someone else doens't have to" as something thats bad, but the harms of that don't even compare to the harms of slut-shaming, which was touched on in the other article. She's not warranting a) how this is actually harmful to people, or b) why it's worse than slut-shaming. But even if they are comparable, I'm the only one attempting to even sovle for the real problem (that she even admits) which is the bias from the people who are enforcing the rule, and not the rule itself.

This is where my opponent and I are differing. We both are agreeing that the current state of affairs is bad. However she's advocating that we change the nature of the rule or policy to be better enforced, which I'm arguing isn't actually possible to achieve.

I, on the other hand, am advocating that we go to the source of the problem, the teachers and admins enforcing the policy, and get them to learn exactly what they should be talking and not talking about so that the bias is minimized or taken away entirely. She's yet to respond to this throughout the entire debate execpt to agree that this is a problem, yet not one she's trying to solve.

Until my opponent finally decides to respond to my arguments for once instead of just trying to repeat herself over and over again, I really don't have anything left to say.
Debate Round No. 4


Enforcing the dress code better is not impossible. There are guidelines in school handbooks. The handbook clearly tells the students what will happen if they don't adhere to the policy. (page 36-37)

If enforcing the dress code is "harmful to people" then maybe students will actually look at what they are wearing before they walk out the door so they don't get hurt. Maybe if the student followed the guidelines they wouldn't get hurt.

"Changing the nature of the rule or policy to be better enforce" is possible to achieve. Teachers have power to tell the student change. They could tell them "Excuse me but what you are wearing is not appropriate for school go to the front office and change." Simple as that. But yet my opponent says it is impossible to do so. I didn't know that it is impossible to open up your mouth and say no to kids who always get their way.

How is telling a student to change impossible? I have seen many teachers tell other students to change but then look the other way when a popular person breaks the rule. If only the teachers would stop being biased and actually enforce the rule that has no meaning of being in the handbook if it isn't enforced.


My opponent drops the harms of slut-shaming. Extend this out as a reason why we shouldn't be spending as much time enforcing the rule.

She attempts to (finally) respond to my impossibility argument, but misses the point again. It doesn't matter if it's possible for teachers to tell people to change because I never made the argument that they couldn't. My argument was that objectively enforcing a clothing policy would be impossible without arming every teacher with a ruler and having them check every student. Since practically that isn't really feasible without creating a massive disruption in the school day, it's going to be based in the same subjective problems that, if what the comments are talking about are anywhere near true, caused my opponent to want to do this debate in the first place.

So since my opponent misunderstood my point, I'm going to repeat it (again), just to make sure that it's extra, extra, extra clear.

The only way to avoid the harms of slut-shaming and things like unfair applications of the rule is to find a completely objective way to enforce the rule. The only problem with this, though, is that it's just not feasible or even possible to do within the constraints of the school day. This means that you have to place the onus of enforcement on Coach Whatshisface, which is always going to be subjective. This keeps the door open for possible mistakes to continually be made simply exhaust it isn't possible for humans to be 100% objective. This means tha even if we get all "Rah rah! Fair enforcement if the clothing policy! Rah!", nothing will actually change. It's still going to be done through the subjective teachers and coaches, which means it will have the same problems as before.

The only ways to solve for this problem is to not enforce the rule (which my opponent doesn't advocate for and which supports my position), or find a different way to enforce the rule (something my opponent never advocates for and something that still supports my position). So no matter how you look at it, I'm winning on this issue, and you vote for me because of it.

She brings up how there are clear guidelines on what passes and what doesn't pass the policy so it's something that we can actually enforce, but that doesn't address the fact that it's still the teachers and coaches that are trying to apply those guidelines, which is what's creating the problem we're debating about in the first place.

Since this is the final round, I'm going to summarize the reasons why you're voting for me in this debate:

1. She's not doing any kind of work to respond to how because the teachers applying this rule are subjective and prone to making mistakes, that it's not reall possible to actually create "better enforcement".

2. Even if she is somehow showing that we can better enforce this (and if you're going to take this line of logic I'd love for you show me where she does this), I'm bringing into question why we should even be enforcing this in the first place from a) the harms of things like slut-shaming and it's impact on kids education and desire to learn and b) the truth that clothing really doesn't have that big of an impact on classroom attention and that any kind of "distraction" is really overstated.

I thank my opponent for debating this with me and ask the voters to vote con.
Debate Round No. 5
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by mgwillardmatthew 2 years ago
what if the girl has shorts that have holes in them so you can see thire underwear
Posted by mgwillardmatthew 2 years ago
what if the girl has shorts that have holes in them so you can see thire underwear
Posted by mgwillardmatthew 2 years ago
what if the girl has shorts that have holes in them so you can see thire underwear
Posted by mgwillardmatthew 2 years ago
that right becues who wants to girl underwear
Posted by dreamer25 2 years ago
I totally agree that they should be enforced. I mean why have them if you aren't going to follow them. In my school the shorts have to be to your knees. And everyone has to respect that rule because they made it for their own good. If everyone doesn't respect the the dress code then what will the other schools think of us? That we are a no good school that doesn't respect their students? I again agree with this argument.
Posted by Zaradi 2 years ago
Posted by Mikal 2 years ago
Zaradi calm down, this is brutal
Posted by COUREE_FLUTE 2 years ago
Thank you Buckeye101! That is exactly what I am trying to say!
Posted by bossnegotiator 2 years ago
pro's method of checking that the dress code is adhered to is not that impossible. It could be done in register period where nothing productive ever happens anyway
Posted by buckeye101 2 years ago
I think that if they have a rule about it, enforce it. Many dress codes rules are stupid. (Like the tank top argument, is it really that bad that we show shoulders?) But the short shorts rule, I have seen many girls wear "daisy dukes" and never get in trouble with it. Yet I got in trouble for having bermudas on! Many girls and boys break the dress code, and never get in trouble. Yet some people do get into trouble. Is that fair? No
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