School's New Inclusive Dress Code Finally Gets It Right

 happy girl in school hallway

School dress codes that unfairly target young girls are frighteningly common. From tank tops to leggings, many normal, trendy clothing items are banned in schools across the country due to being labeled as "distractions." As more and more students and parents rise up in protest against these unfair dress codes, schools are finally feeling the pressure and amending their policies. Such is the case for one high school in Illinois that might just have the most progressive school dress code of all time.


Evanston Township High School in Evanston, Illinois, has released an updated version of its school dress code for the 2017/18 school year. According to the school, the new dress code was created to support "our goal of inspiring our students to learn while leaving primary decisions around student clothing and style to students and their parent(s)/Guardian(s)."

More from CafeMom: Boys Wear Off-the-Shoulder Shirts to Protest Their School's Unfair Dress Code

Instead of tackling issues centered around whether or not girls can wear leggings or limiting the length of boys' hair, the dress code mostly prohibits clothing and accessories that contain references to drugs and/or alcohol, profanity, hate speech, or illegal conduct.

Evanston Township High School

In an effort to "not reinforce or increase marginalization or oppression of any group based on race, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, cultural observance, household income or body type/size," this Illinois high school has implemented one of the most inclusive dress code policies in the country. At about three pages long, the entire policy document is full of amazing notes that tackle school dress code–based body shaming, gender identity, and self-expression. 

More from CafeMom: 16 Times Schools Shamed Girls for Wearing Perfectly Normal Clothes

The three main rules simply require that all students wear some type of top, bottom, and shoe. Things like leggings, tank tops, and accidentally visible bra straps are 100 percent permissible. 

Evanston Township High School

The high school credits the Oregon NOW Model for its changes. In reaction to in-school protests, the Oregon chapter of the National Organization for Women created a mock model for school dress codes. Much like Evanton's policies, the model embraces self-expression while working to get rid of gender bias and sexism. While the high school did make a few changes of its own, the language and overall message is extremely similar. 

More from CafeMom: 16 Times School Shamed Girls for Wearing Perfectly Normal Clothes

We still have a long way to go and a lot of work to do before all the archaic dress code policies are amended. But while students across the country beg their officials to implement changes and receive few results, we have no problem applauding Evanston High School for its forward thinking. 

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