Students Win Over Dress code and Mask Policy
By Ananya Rajeshkumar
As the coronavirus pandemic started to spread earlier this year, schools, businesses, and offices began to shut down. For the rest of the 2019-2020 school year, students did distance learning and offices had to work from home. Some schools around the world have reopened for the Fall for the 2020-2021 school year, as cases had no change. The schools that have reopened are supposed to follow the protocol of remaining 6-feet apart and wearing masks. One high school in Wisconsin banned girls from wearing spaghetti straps. After that, they came up with the most bizarre rule, the school lifted the rule requiring students and faculty members to wear masks.
Cedarburg high school in Southeastern Wisconsin believes that students do not need to wear a mask, while attending school amid a pandemic. The school’s handbook has banned girls from wearing tank tops that have spaghetti straps. And if clothing fabric does not reach the student’s fingertips, they can be sent straight to the principal’s office for violating the dress code. According to the school, ‘Certain clothing choices are a “disruption to the education process”’, says the school. They claim that these clothes may be a distraction to some people.The two seniors, Julia Going and Ava Rheeve had enough.
Having to go to school in the midst of a pandemic can be hard, as protocol is necessary. The school decided to reopen, which means masks and hand sanitizer are the bare minimum for children’s safety. Two seniors, Julia Going and Ava Rheeve, decided to protest about the unbelievable fact that the school banned spaghetti straps, but allowed masks. Their main question was that if masks were not needed during a pandemic, then why should the school ban spaghetti strapped tank tops, which cause less “disruption to the education process” than sick students coughing without a mask in the classrooms?
Going and Rheeve started a petition to help banish the dress code and bring back the need for masks. They hoped this course of action would rally the community toward their cause. The petition was launched on July 16th 2020 and over 1,500 people had signed it to help the two girls reach their goal. Their principal was extremely proud of them for taking a stand for what they believe in. Unfortunately, the topic of the school dress code was brought up again and again, they even faced lashback from their own classmates. After all that, they somehow managed to get some positive feedback from members of their Cedarburg community. Eventually, they started speaking out on the topic in public by holding speeches to the people of their community. “I got up there, and I felt the fire”, stated Rheeve.
After all their hard work, the school board finally made a change. They concluded that the school would require masks starting in the fall. Rheeve and Going felt like they finally made a change for good. The two seniors abolished the dress code and instituted the mandate to wear a mask. The two young girls made such a positive change in their community.