Though a surprise to some, New Trier does have a dress code

Kelsey Curran

Most students, like the one above, dress appropriately for school

In the fall when students come back, New Trier’s dress code issue usually worsens. Girls wear short shorts and skimpy shirts, and guys wear their pants around their ankles. While the school does indeed have a dress code, no one seems to pay much attention to it.

Last fall, New Trier sent out the dress code to all of parents to remind students to wear appropriate clothing. However, not many parents were aware of the code, and neither was the local media. On September 1, 2011, the Chicago Tribune wrote a brief article on the email to parents titled, “New Trier warns parents about inappropriate student dress.”  

The article sparked a heated debate on if there should even be a dress code.  Many students, parents, and teachers believe there should be one; however, some oppose of it.

Carol Harbaugh, parent of an incoming junior, believes that the current dress code is “too subjective.”  She added, “For example, one person’s interpretation of revealing may be quite different from another’s.”  Harbaugh also said that she did not think that educating students on proper dress would change the situation because “kids are too influenced by peer pressure and fashion/[trends].” However, some students don’t seem to be as affected by peer pressure and side with the parents and staff on the dress code.

Lauren Secaras, an incoming junior, is one of those students. She said, contrary to what somestudents think, the faculty is doing a good job handling students who wear skimpy clothes.Secaras said the faculty lets students know when they are wearing something that is not school appropriate. She said that the dress code at school is fair. She laughed stating, “We’re just going to school, so there’s no need to dress like you’re going to a club.”

Are students under the impression that it’s cool to dress in little clothing? Larry Platt, singer from YouTube, thinks they are.

His YouTube video includes the line, “Pants on the ground. Pants on the ground. Lookin’ like a fool with your pants on the ground.”

Some students believe that a dress code at NT doesn’t exist, but Principal Timothy Dohrer, pointed out that there is one. In fact, the dress code is printed in the NT guidebook under “Student Appearance”. This policy states, “The appearance of students at New Trier High School should reflect the atmosphere of a learning environment. Students should be fully dressed and should meet reasonable standards of cleanliness and decency.”  

Dohrer said that staff members handle students who dress inappropriately by asking them to turn their shirts inside out, to change clothes, or even to go home to change. He said the reason for disciplining is “we want to educate students.” According to Dohrer, the not very strict dress code allows students to experiment with different styles.

Dohrer added that any adult, staff member or parent who sees a student crossing the line is responsible for handling him/her. As for the consistency of disciplinary actions by teachers, he said they are consistent. He adds the “most important thing that any student should do is read the rules” that way there are no surprises if teachers ask a student to change their clothes.

On the contrary, incoming junior, Elizabeth Phillips, disagreed with Harbaugh, Secaras, and Dohrer. Phillips said there should not be a dress code because it doesn’t allow students to express themselves. Phillips added that the problem should be dealt with by the students and their parents and, if needed, the teachers.  However, she did say, Kids should respect themselves more to be able to not have to wear such risqué things.”