School dress codes have been making news as students speak out about the ways the standards appear to them to be unfair, particularly to girls and Black males. Girls’ clothing choices are singled out for being overly revealing and a distraction to boys, while Black males’ choices are perceived as being associated with criminality. The authors surveyed students and interviewed teachers at a midwestern high school to better understand their perspectives on dress code enforcement. The survey found that Black and multiracial students were disproportionately likely to be “coded” (spoken to by a school adult) or disciplined for dress code violations.
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