The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

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Uniforms at Poly?

After an assembly in October, Head of Upper School Sarah Bates held back all female-identifying students to discuss the Poly dress code. During this conversation, students were reminded about the guidelines of the policy, as well as some examples of clothing that may or may not be appropriate for a school setting. This conversation left some students wondering about the intent behind the assembly. 

When asked about the intent behind having this conversation, Bates stated, “I used one teacher as an example; it prompted me to speak to all the female-identifying students. Not just one teacher had a concern about it, but their concern was quite literally that female students were wearing clothes that you could see through.” Bates also noted that she has gotten many concerns about the dress code from teachers, usually about kids looking “sloppy” or “fresh out of bed.”

The purpose of a dress code is to make sure that students are dressed appropriately for school, but what does ‘dressed appropriately’ actually mean?

In the past, Poly has had a strict dress code, but it has become more relaxed in recent years, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Bates explained that one of her concerns regarding the dress code is that families touring campus might factor student behavior and tendencies into their decision whether or not to attend, including how they dress. “People are coming to see if Poly is a place where they want to go as a student, or for families that this is a place where they want to send their child,” said Bates.

How students present themselves can also play a role during the school day. While some teachers may find it important for students to present themselves by what they consider appropriate, many students also find it important to be able to express themselves and their identities through their clothing choices. On one hand, some students argue that putting uniforms in place would take away students’ right to express themselves. Establishing uniforms would take away a part of the diversity of school culture, which Poly has been striving to achieve for many years. However, on the other hand, other students say having uniforms would help students not have to worry about what to wear in the morning. There would no longer be arguments about the dress code and students wearing “inappropriate school attire.” 

When asked about her personal opinion on uniforms at school, Bates stated “For me personally and professionally, I just want you all to learn to come to school, to be comfortable, and to be set up for a really good learning experience.” She said there are further steps that have not been taken that would need to be for uniforms to even be considered at Poly. 

When asked about his thoughts about Poly possibly having uniforms, Henry Crowley ’26 stated, “It’s a free country, people should be able to wear whatever they want at school.” Of the more than two dozen students interviewed across a variety of grades and across genders, most other male-identifying students agreed with this statement. Meanwhile, of the students interviewed, most female-identifying students said they were either pro-uniform or anti-dress code, with few in between. Female student Alex Gerling ’26 stated, “I personally am pro-uniform because it makes things simpler especially because there is a lot of confusion surrounding our current dress code.”

According to a poll shared on the student government’s Instagram, 33 percent of voters were pro-uniform while 67 percent were anti-uniform. (Seventy-three Poly students, both male- and female-identifying, responded in total.) Another poll was conducted on whether Poly should have a stricter dress code. This time, 35 percent of voters voted yes for a stricter dress code and 65 percent voted no, conveying that most students want the freedom to choose how they dress for school. 

Of the 25 students throughout the Upper School asked if they were pro or anti-uniform as well as pro or anti-dress code, almost all female students voted pro-uniform and/or anti-dress code while the male population was scattered or neutral on the subject.

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