January 1, 2010
Teenagers who push the limits of school dress codes are nothing new. Experimenting with clothing, hairstyles, and even make-up is a way for teens to explore their identities and test the limits of socially-acceptable behavior. Although school officials might find dress code enforcement challenging, dress code violations in the past tended to be fairly routine and usually revolved around prohibiting overtly sexually suggestive clothing or outward signs of gang affiliation.
But a new wrinkle in the dress code debate has developed, with some students demanding to express their gender or sexual identities by cross-gender dressing. Although cross-gender dressing is not particularly widespread in schools, a growing number of students throughout the country have begun dressing according to the gender identity they have chosen, which may not necessarily reflect their biological gender.
Whether the student is gay, lesbian, transgender, or just testing the limits of a school dress code, the issue has emerged as a dress-code challenge for many school officials, and schools must face competing demands and evolving ideas of acceptable dress. . . .Read More