Rules for a Reason: school dress codes - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Rules for a Reason: school dress codes

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC)--It's on their minds as students prepare for the school day... just what to wear...

"Today, I wore a shirt that said 'Let's Get Wasted'-I got in trouble for it but I still wore it," said Hope Parpart, a junior at Winona High School."

After her shirt drew the attention of faculty members, Hope was required to wear a sweatshirt over her shirt for the rest of the day, and like many of her friends she's faced with this question: what's appropriate for school?

"I don't even know what our dress code is because some people it gets enforced to and others it doesn't," said junior Holly Ives.

Winona Senior High School students have a basic dress code with rules like "must not be showing bra straps" or "not too much skin."  Some students argue these are double standards within the code.

"I don't understand it that well, or why they think it's distracting for boys but not for girls," said Winona senior, Noah Buxengard.

While some students argue the rules may not be fair, others insist it's the parents' job to tell teens what not to wear.

"I really feel like if my mom was okay with me owning this shirt and wearing it then I should be able to wear it," said Parpart.

Pine Island principal Kevin Cardille says there's a reason behind every rule.

"Appropriate Dress is what we're looking for," said Cardille.  "Not a lot of holey jeans or ripped up pants. We want something they're going to feel comfortable in wearing--something they're going to feel safe in learning in science classes and things like that."

Besides comfort and safety, at Lourdes High School in Rochester, covering up is an essential part of school that serves other purposes.

"It's a non-curriculum curriculum, if you will," said Lourdes High School Principal, Dr. Joseph O'Toole. 

As a college-preparatory high school, students at Lourdes are expected to dress in business casual.  For the young "Eagles" men, for example, that means khaki pants and polo shirts.

Dr. O'Toole said it helps them understand what's expected of them in the real world.

"We're starting now, not only to prepare the kids for undergrad, but for the work-a-day world as well," said Dr. O'Toole.

"If you didn't have a dress code it'd be really, really hard to find an outfit," said Lourdes senior, Ian Cierzan.  "When you have less variety to choose from with a uniform, it's a little easier to know what you're going to wear."

"I'm a get up and go guy, so when I see my clothes there, I can just go," said senior Ian Mcmeeking.  "I don't really mind the dress code."

But when celebs like Miley Cyrus appears in something outrageous, young people might be tempted to follow her lead and show a little skin.

"Every once in awhile there's a challenge," said Dr. O'Toole.  "Someone will go walking past and you go 'REALLY'? And you say, 'you know, can I speak to you a minute?"

But some teens are ready to go it alone, to stay classy.

"I think it just comes down to knowing yourself. You can't get caught up in all the media and what people think is acceptable now," said junior Grace Dearani.  "I think you just need to be strong in that way."

Though the styles may change from one year to the next, the rules and the reactions to them seem to be just as strong as ever.

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