Return to the classroom renews focus on dress code, self-expression


Clover Hill students return from virtual education with new style, some of which challenges the preexisting dress code.

Whitney Cardwell, Staff Writer

While many students have not physically been in school since March 2020, at this point, the majority of Clover Hill’s roughly 1,800 student body has returned for the 2021-2022 school year. The shift from online to in-person has signaled the return of a hot-button issue: school dress code, and following a long dormant period, faculty and students must again follow policy set forth by Chesterfield County Public Schools.

Social Studies teacher Kyle Miller sees an overall shift in style compared to the previous years, noting styles such as crop tops and high cut shorts. 

“I think maybe the enforcement in society has changed, but I could tell you the enforcement of dress code is less than it used to be,” Miller said. 

As the dress code is directed towards students, many believe that they should have a say in the way they can dress and be able to present themselves. 

Sophomore Sydney McCray notes that there is a difference in dress code enforcement among different genders.

“I feel like [for] females, in general, dress code is a lot stricter,” McCray said. 

While students have the freedom and right to dress how they please, the dress code presents a line that should not be crossed in an educational environment. 

Assistant principal Cherel Fitzgerald believes that students have a choice in what they wear, but that also comes with being mindful of what we should wear.

“I think students should have a choice however I think that they need to be mindful that they are in school to receive their education and there’s a time and place for everything,” Fitzgerald said. 

Faculty allowing students to have more of a free will in the clothing they decided to wear can be adequate, but, according to Miller, may also be problematic. 

“It can become difficult when things are gendered, however, the lack of enforcement opens the door to some ridiculous things that people see but then there’s an issue with addressing it,” Miller said. 

Assistant librarian Kat Bogdanowicz is a champion for self-expression and sees the shifting style and enforcement of the dress code as a positive change.

“I think that, obviously, fashion is a cool way we can express ourselves, and so I’m all for self-expression, so it’s really cool that people are more open to express themselves,” Bogdanowicz said.