Students Skirt the Boundaries

Students Skirt the Boundaries

ILLUSTRATION BY LILY SUMROW
ILLUSTRATION BY LILY SUMROW

A sophomore walks down the hall to her B period class. But before she gets to the classroom, she makes a stop at the bathroom to do a quick change. Taking off her skirt, she reaches in her backpack and grabs a skirt of the same pattern and slips it on. The reason?

She is heading to Ann Ojeda’s chemistry class.

The sophomore, who wishes to remain anonymous, switched into a longer skirt in order to avoid getting in trouble with her teacher.

According to the uniform guidelines listed in the school planner, a student’s skirt should be no shorter than 4” above the knee – a rule which, according to a Fourcast survey, approximately 60 percent of Upper School girls ignore.

Head of Upper School John Ashton stated he is “worried that girls don’t commit to checking and self-correcting that their skirts are an appropriate length.”

Ashton added that although faculty members are told to monitor students’ skirt lengths, “people [teachers] don’t want to come up and hold a card to someone’s knee because that feels invasive. But at the same time, the students who continue to ignore the skirt length really put the faculty in a tough spot.”

Junior Mimi Asom, whose skirt is shorter than the “four inches above the knee”, said that although teachers have made comments regarding her short skirt, she has never gotten in trouble for it; the only uniform infraction that Asom has received was from wearing the wrong sweatshirt.

“I’d have to get quite a few detentions for me to bother getting new skirts,” Asom said, despite teachers’ remarks about her skirt’s length.

Much like Asom, the anonymous sophomore has been told that her skirt is too short, but never has received an infraction for it. And when she forgets to bring her extra skirt to change into before class, she has a clever solution. She often unzips the one she is wearing and puts on a sweatshirt in order to create the effect of a longer skirt. “I don’t think skirt rules should be as strict as they were at the beginning of the year,” she said.

But there might be a solution to this common uniform violation. Since many girls have been continuing to wear skirts that are not of an appropriate length, Ashton warned that the guidelines for skirt length might need to be reconsidered, possibly changing the requirement from four inches above the knee to two inches above the knee or even knee-length.

Recently, junior Kristina Graffy was at the North Park Center when a lady addressed the length of her skirt.

“I was shopping in Neiman’s with my mom and we were talking to a sales associate when this lady, probably in her 60’s or 70’s, walked up and asked me if I went to Hockaday,” Graffy explained. “I said yes and she said something along the lines of, ‘when I went there, we had to kneel and our skirts had to touch the ground. The skirts are too short now,’ and just walked away.”

Graffy, who has been attending Hockaday since Kindergarten, felt uncomfortable about the lady’s comment, but realized that Hockaday has modernized over time.

“It was awkward, but I didn’t really have anything to say about it because I realize we are from different generations,” Graffy said.

Although many students don’t follow the uniform guidelines, some girls who do.

Freshman Sophia Shams’ skirt usually measures well below the required four inches. She said that she considers the uniform guidelines to be important “because the skirt length signifies how we want to portray ourselves at school and how we want to represent Hockaday.” Even though Shams’ skirt follows the school’s rules, she also stated that her choice to wear long skirts is a result of her personal decision rather than the result of an enforced uniform guideline.

If students continue to ignore the skirt guidelines, there will be consequences. So next time you slip on your skirt, in the words of rapper Ice Cube, “check yo self.”

– Manisha Ratakonda