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  • Writer's pictureTiffany Millen

Where's the dress code?

Updated: Jul 8, 2023

We are very fortunate at NHA in that we typically don't need a lot of rules because we work with families who teach their children to make good choices and exhibit good behaviors.

Our rules consist of only 5 words: Respect, Be Kind, Don't Run (in the building).

Infrequently, we will have an issue come up where one person's idea of showing respect or kindness does not agree with another person's idea.

Last year, I was approached twice concerning dress that parents felt was a little provocative for the classroom. They simply asked about our dress code.

Our dress code falls within the first two rules: Respect: dress in such a way so as to show respect for yourself and others; and Be Kind: don't dress in ways that you know will make those around you uncomfortable.

Obviously, there is huge room for differences of opinion in these areas. Given that we had 420 students across 28 weeks and only 2 issues that someone thought worth mentioning, I'm not going to change rules to try to prevent the .01% percent of the times we had a problem.

Whenever you start trying to legislate necklines and hemlines, it will always disproportionately impact girls and potentially create more issues than it solves.

I think this is an area where we can all model showing deference to those whose values may be different from our own.

For those to whom modesty is a big priority, please consider that what you see on the outside may reflect a struggle on the inside that for me is the bigger priority. A young person who is struggling with a poor self-image or low self-esteem needs kindness more than a critique.

For those who value exercising free expression in their dress that others may find offensive, please consider that part of valuing our diversity is making a safe space for those who hold to different standards of dress. No one expects anyone else to dress like a Puritan, but we can find a happy medium that allows for expression without being offensive.

This lady is an Orthodox Jew. She holds herself to the highest standards of modesty, but all she asks for from those around her is kindness and respect. I think those on both sides of this issue can learn from this short video.


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