On Friday, April 13, Principal Brenda Grasso issued a new student dress code policy to the Steinbrenner High School community. The new code states that all students are to wear clothing that touches both their wrists and ankles and extends both above (for pants) and below (for shirts) the waistline. Any student found violating this code will receive a $100 fine. Additionally, any teacher who does not send an offender to the office will receive a $150 fine.
“Hopefully these policies will let students know that we are adamant in enforcing the dress code,” said Grasso in a press conference early Monday morning. “Past policies have been too lenient on students.”
The stricter rules are designed to prevent many previous problems associated with inappropriate clothing from reoccurring. These issues include distraction from class, violent fights, increased use of drugs and several attempted murders.
The majority of students are outraged by these new rules, but several students who are victims of the dark ages of dress code have spoken out in support.
“These new codes show that Steinbrenner is ready to take the lead in dress code enforcement,” said junior Allison Risqué. As a freshman, Risqué was sucked into the world of out-of-dress-code attire. Her friends encouraged her to “be a rebel” and “screw the system”. Risqué was regularly wearing miniskirts and tank tops by December.
“I kept getting called down to the office to change but I didn’t even care,” said Risqué. “It was a lifestyle and, at the time, I loved every minute of it.”
In February, Risqué’s clothing led to a confrontation with the law. Her group of dress code offenders, informally known as “The Spaghetti Straps”, clashed with another group of offenders, “The Wife Beaters”. The result was a violent shootout during sixth period lunch. After three hours of interrogation by the police and the arrests of several Spaghetti Straps and Wife Beater members, Risqué realized the life of a dress-code violator wasn’t for her.
“Hopefully the new code will prevent other students from going through what I did,” said Risqué.
Nonetheless, the code leaves several dress-code questions unanswered. When asked if see-through or lace shirts are acceptable clothing, Grasso simply restated the clothing-length rule. She later implied that hairstyle and makeup style rules may soon be amended into the dress code.
“We’re all going to have to make adjustments to comply with the new rule,” said Grasso. “I’ve given myself a dress code violation several times when I wore clothes not in accordance with the new rules.”
The code is a landmark for Hillsborough County. “We’re changing the way administrators view clothing,” said Grasso. “Hopefully other schools will follow our example.”
Natalie Barman/Opinion Editor