Why These Students Protested Their High School’s Dress Code Policy

Photo: Courtesy of Avery Kim.


Stories of students standing up to their school’s antiquated—and, at times, problematic—rules have been popping up in the news a lot lately. Recently, a group of black girls in South Africa made headlines when they were allegedly told by their school that their “exotic” natural hair needs to be tamed. Stateside, a group of students from Brooklyn Tech teamed up for a protest of their own during the end of the school year to rebel against the school’s sexist and racist dress code policies.

Brooklyn Tech student Avery Kim produced a 14-minute short documentary, titled #SkinOutSpeakOut, capturing the rally that an estimated 750 students put together. A bulk of the short shows girls—and guys alike—expressing their frustration over rules that, they say, help to enforce the idea that the female body is distracting and inappropriate. “The dress code targets what women wear and suggests that removing the rules will make young women lose control and come to school naked. It's misogynist," one student states in the film. "Girls have two dials: It’s either you’re a nun or you’re a hoe,” another says to a rousing applause.

Kim tells us she’s shared similar experiences of being called out for quote-un-quote inappropriate clothing in the past, which is what motivated her to make the film. She wanted to help give a voice to the movement—or, at least, help amplify it. “Since the sixth grade, I have been unfairly dress coded myself, sometimes causing me to miss tests or lose class time just to be forced to wear a pair of school-provided dirty gym shorts that were shorter than the clean shorts I had on,” she says. “When girls are unfairly criticized and targeted by teachers, who they respect, or other authority figures, it can have a really demoralizing impact. Especially, when this is applied unevenly across races, body types, and genders.”

You can watch the short in its entirety below. As for whether or not any changes were made, Kim says she doesn’t think any rules were officially crossed off Brooklyn Tech’s list formally but that she received an outpouring of support from people around the country and even internationally.

Her documentary is also going to be screened at the Awareness Film Festival in L.A. and Utopia Film Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland, in the coming months. Her ultimate goal: to spread the message that dress coding is unfair but, most importantly, to inspire young people to speak out and stand up for themselves. 


Cardi B, Avril Lavigne, and so much more

Every weekend, we bring you #SOUNDCHECK—your destination for the best of the best new music that hit the web over the course of the week. Because you should always be prepared when someone passes you that AUX cord. This week's round features 21 of our favorite emerging and established artists including Cardi B, Avril Lavigne, Tacocat, and so many more. Turn up, tune in, and tune out.

"Please Me" - Cardi B and Bruno Mars
"Please Me" will pair perfectly with all of the Valentine's Day candy you just bought on clearance. Trust me, there couldn't be a more perfect time to listen to this ultra-'90s R&B track.

Head Above Water - Avril Lavigne
I'm honestly jealous of whomever Avril is singing about on "Goddess."

Tacocat - Grains of Salt [OFFICIAL VIDEO]

"Grains of Salt" - Tacocat
When I realized Tacocat was back, I literally turned around at my desk and yelled. It's a miracle.

"Can I Talk" - Caleb Steph
Caleb Steph's debut single proves that he's ready for the spotlight.

Betty - Betty Who
"You better recognize/ That you're wasting all my time" from "The One" is my new favorite response to every "photographer" on Tinder.

"Butterfly" - Kehlani
The only thing more beautiful than this cover art is Kehlani's voice.

SASAMI - Free (feat. Devendra Banhart) (Official Video)

"Free" - SASAMI feat. Devendra Banhart
I would have never predicted a SASAMI and Devendra Banhart collaboration, but I am 100 percent not complaining.

Rex Orange County - New House

"New House" - Rex Orange County
Alex O'Connor never fails to impress me with his soulful bedroom pop, and "New House" is no exception.


"Cuz I Love You" - Lizzo
Distorted guitar paired with Lizzo's belting vocals? Chills, literally. She did that!

"Heads Gonna Roll" - Jenny Lewis
Like if Stevie Nicks' voice met Father John Misty's lyrics.

"Get Well" - Donna Missal
Donna Missal tells me everything I needed to hear about breakups on "Get Well."

"Patient" - Monica Martin
Sultry and sweet.

"Whorey Heart" - TeaMarr
TeaMarrr's bouncy new song is an excellent roast of the kind of fuckboi we all know and hate.

"Ice Me Out (Remix)" - Kash Doll
Kash Doll shows that she knows her way around a beat on "Ice Me Out."

"Lips of Lips" - Tiffany Young
Definitely catch me driving around with my windows down this summer blaring "Lips on Lips."