My Body Is Not A Distraction

Hylton student, Josephine Rhodes, takes initiative by peacefully protesting against the Hylton dress code.

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Rhodes is pictured wearing a green shirt.

The first month of school brought back to some extent what was once normal prior to COVID-19. Students are now able to get an education face to face and interact with their peers, while teachers can help students fully understand a topic material through means that do not include Zoom. However, a year-long education at home has resulted in a drastic change in the fashion trends among Hylton students.

While students are becoming more expressive through their clothing, it has presented some conflict with the Hylton dress code and administration. According to the PWCS dress code, students are expected to “dress for success” stating that students should not wear clothing that “may cause a distraction or disruption to the educational process.” Thus, Hylton did not fail to address the dress code as Hylton students began to find themselves through their clothing.

On the first day of school, a Hylton staff member made an announcement through the intercom re-stating the dress code to students while specifying that some girls have not been abiding by it. This had angered many Hylton students especially senior Josephine Rhodes who felt that the announcement had targeted girls.

Rhodes felt that many of the girls weren’t dressing inappropriately but rather nicely, leading to her jokingly suggesting on her Snapchat story that people should protest against the dress code. However, this had garnered some backlash, and people began to argue with her about the topic. Thus, becoming the push she needed to begin the protest against the Hylton dress code.

Though this situation had upset Rhodes, similar instances in the past where she felt people had heavily dictated what girls wore allowed this situation to become the final straw for her.

While many were suggesting ideas such as leaving class or crowding the main office to demonstrate their frustration, Rhodes took a more peaceful approach by making shirts that read, “My skin is not inappropriate, my body is not a distraction.” Through this means, Rhodes attempted to display her feelings towards the dress code and her passion towards the issue led to others supporting her protest.

Initially, she had only 10 people who were interested in purchasing her shirts yet as more learned about the protest that number jumped to 96. Following this, Rhodes had organized for people to wear the shirts on Thursday, September 2nd, and there was a huge turnout as many wore the shirts to support Rhodes’ cause.

Despite Rhodes’ protest mainly being a student protest, many teachers had also supported her criticisms of the dress code. Rhodes explains, “I had a bunch of teachers asking me for shirts,…I had security guards wondering why I’m doing what I’m doing and giving their support.”

When asked whether she plans on demonstrating the protest once more, Rhodes enthusiastically responded with, “I very much want to do it now but I sadly have so much going on…so as soon as everything clears up, I will bring it back up again. I want to make sure it is done right, so we can have a good impact.”