Letter to the Editor: Emler was rightly dress coded

*This editorial is in response to senior Peyton Emler’s letter to the editor in the November issue of The Blue Streak.

While it maybe true that the term ‘vagina’ is used to represent a body part, or in the case of this shirt, a group of people, I do not believe that it is appropriate to display at school.

The First Amendment protects one’s right to speak his or her mind about political issues, religious differences, etc., but it should not be considered a free pass to do it however one wishes, and when a word is used only for shock value, it deserves no such protections.

This shirt was an oversight on Ms. Emler’s part, and the school administration was justified in dress coding her.

The thing that we seem to have forgotten is that school is a formal event, and that is what the dress code is trying to enforce.

Formality dictates a generally long-sleeved shirt or a jacket, and either a solid color or a reserved font. We are lucky enough to be in a country where the general code of school formality manifests itself in a less oppressive dress code.

A common rule of thumb that the dress code follows is, “if you wouldn’t wear it to your job, you shouldn’t wear it to school.” I very much doubt that wherever any of us work would be joyed to see one of their employees dressed in the aforementioned attire.

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

Ms. Emler earlier claimed that the word vagina is purely clinical, however, this is clearly not the case. Were it used in a clinical sense, i.e. a shirt reading “win the war against Vaginitis” or some other cause actually relating to the body part in question, then the shirt would have been justified, and the dress coding would not have been. Yet, for the shirt in question, the term ‘vagina’ was displayed purely for its shock value, and it provided no intellectual or political value other than that of being a surprising thing to have included in the message.

Ms. Emler was justified in wearing something expressing her opposition of Trump, as are we all. However, the language used to do it was inappropriate and uncalled for. If one wishes to display their disapproval of the president-elect, a more appropriate option would have been a shirt reading “women (or men) against Trump,” “Trump will destroy America” or even the slogan “love trumps hate.”

Everyone has the right to express their political opinion, but each individual has the responsibility to do so in a way that is socially acceptable. As for the argument that ‘vagina’ should not make people uncomfortable and should be acceptable in everyday speech, I agree, but that’s not the way it is, and until that changes, students will have to learn to live by society’s rules and not their own.