‘Dress down’ or dress code?

Maize South plans to start a fundraiser starting this Friday, offering students to ‘dress down’ and aiming to give them a break from the dress code.


Nathan Wituk

At Maize South, students are commonly called out for midriffs and shorts as they walk between classes, oversexualixing parts of their bodies for clothing they would wear comfortably outside of school. For ‘just one dollar,’ Maize South students are offered to go against this dress code and pay to wear something that would normally be considered ‘distracting’ for ‘final Friday’.

Bridget Johnson, Fusion reporter

“Put the blanket away.” “Take your hat off.” “Pull your shirt down.”

Walking through the hallways at Maize South, these phrases are common for students to hear in passing from administrators or teachers. They are a part of student’s everyday lives and force them to conform to the district dress code.

Except on the final Friday of each month.

On the last Friday of each month, Maize South has started a new fundraiser for clubs where students can pay a dollar to “dress down,” for the day, starting this week on Friday, November 18. 

This means students can wear crop tops, hats, the hood of their hoodies, blankets, or pajamas. The idea, according to Becky Sailor, the Maize South Principal, is that students can wear anything they would normally wear outside of school without worrying about the dress code. 

“I know as a student it can be really frustrating of ‘I can wear this outside of school, why can’t I wear it inside of school?” Sailor said. “It’s just an idea to give students one day of, like, maybe I can relax and wear my hat or maybe I can relax and put my hood up. Maybe I can relax and not have to zip up my jacket to not show this inch of my stomach.”

At the beginning of the week, announcements about the fundraiser were made via a short infographic and presentation during EnCor. Offering vague guidelines and information, students were left confused about the parameters and shocked by the message it sends about breaking the dress code. (Graphic by Nathan Wituk)

On the final Friday of each month, students can pay to break the dress code. The dress code that is put into place by the USD 266 school district. The dress code students have to follow each day.

“It’s just something that gives students a little bit of freedom to just relax for a day,” Sailor said. “Our dress code is what’s adopted by the district and what’s supposed to be put into place throughout the whole district. It’s just an opportunity to relax for a day.”

The sudden loosening of the rules for a fee has left students in shock and confused as to why it is abruptly being overlooked to fund clubs. 

“I can see what they are trying to do but I feel like they could have had a better approach,” freshmen Brylee Beauchamp said. “It’s good to raise money for clubs and teacher appreciation, but there are other ways to do that besides making us pay to break the dress code. Everyone already wears crop tops and we don’t have to pay. They obviously made the rules for a reason, so what is the point of paying to break the rules.”

According to students, staff, administration, and teachers, the dress code was made for a reason and paying money to break it seems unorthodox.

“It is weird that we are making an exception for one day whenever the dress code, for whatever reason for the dress code to be made was the reason for the dress code,” Alora Durano, a Maize South senior, said. “For them to be like ‘well it’s okay for this one day as long as you pay money’ is very strange to me.”

With the skepticism and confusion about the fundraiser, students have to make a decision about whether or not to participate in it. 

Senior Paige Simmons feels strongly against the concept of paying to wear clothes, especially with dress code being stressed through this school year. 

“I’m not participating because I just feel like there’s a lot of better ways to go around it,” Paige Simmons said. “If we’re being completely honest, people wear midriffs. They show crop tops all the time. I just think that there were a lot of better ways to go around it and that dress code shouldn’t be enforced anyways, so I don’t want to participate in something that’s feeding into that.”

During EnCor, students at Maize South were shown a slideshow with information about the fundraiser and a few specifics about what exactly ‘dressing down’ means, including midriff (which has been emphasized in the dress code this year), explicitly stated in the presentation.

Showcasing sexism and subjectivism, dress codes at school leave students feeling outcast, singled out, and confused about what exactly they are allowed to wear and what is considered ‘distracting’. Deciding to discard the dress code for one day a month, however leaves students wondering why the dress code is still enforced every day if it can be thrown out as a fundraiser. (Graphic by Nathan Wituk)

“I feel it is weird and wrong for me to have to pay to show off a part of my body that is a part of everyone’s body,” Alora Durano said.

Despite all the negativity surrounding the ‘final Friday’ fundraiser, Sailor expresses that she feels allowing students to ‘dress down’ for a day allows them a sense of freedom they do not normally receive. 

“It’s just an opportunity to do something different,” Sailor said. “I don’t necessarily think it’s a matter of being okay and not okay, it’s just an opportunity to do something different and give kids an opportunity to do something different.”

Despite the efforts, such as this fundraiser, that have been put into showing students more opportunities for independence in school, students are left wondering how this ‘final Friday’ story is an acceptable way to raise money. 

“I think it can be seen as an issue by the way they worded it,” Junior Maddy Rhoads said. “If you want to pay to wear a hat then that’s fine, but ‘dressing down’ is a horrible way of putting on this fundraiser. There are hardly any limitations other than pants and shirts and no swimwear. This could have been presented better and a really fun fundraiser.”