Recently, a group of students protested a new ban on turtlenecks. Students gathered support by posting in the class Facebook groups, encouraging classmates to wear turtlenecks on Friday, December 5.
The movement garnered enough attention that Dean of Students Amie Creagh hosted a meeting after school that day to discuss the specifics of dress code. This brought up two primary issues as people questioned the gender neutrality of the dress code and whether or not the protesting efforts were for a justifiable cause.
Alex DeVries ’15 explained he was motivated to take a stand because “turtlenecks are just a small thing that makes guys smile during the winter months.” He continued, “Usually the school is pretty good about being transparent with the students, but this was uncalled for. We had no warnings or [chances to] clean up our act.”
DeVries was one of the students who posted in his respective class page: “I made the post on Facebook because it seemed like the best way to get traction from our grade.”
Alternatively, Charlie Carpenter ’16 stated, “I took a stand on this issue of turtlenecks because I felt there was an inequity in the dress code. Girls were allowed to wear a blazer and turtleneck, but boys were not.” Many other students agree with him.
Katherine Jackson ’15 said, “I think in the winter when [the boys] have the opportunity to wear something different or more comfortable it should be allowed.”
Teddy Donnelley ’17 further added, “The turtleneck is a unisex piece of clothing so both genders should have the same rules regarding it.”
In response to the student’s arguments, Ms. Creagh addressed the students in a school-wide email. “Boys do not have as many options [as girls], whether for comfort or variety,” she explains in the email. “Moreover, boys are ‘called out’ for dress code violations more than girls because there are so few options.” Therefore, she agreed to a trial run in which all students will be given the chance to prove they can be dressed properly in a turtleneck.
In the midst of this controversy, debate arose over what justifies a protest. In a video made on response to the original post in the senior Facebook page, Jared Arms ’15 and a group of students question: “What is more important, turtlenecks or human lives?” This constituted a greater effort to remind people that there are bigger issues in the real world outside Deerfield’s little bubble.
Armes explained his actions: “The end of our video simply questioned why we could not put this same type of energy into something like the current protests for human life in this country. We need to be more aware of our words and actions and the effects they have on others, whether online or off.”
Kyra Kocis ’15 responded to Armes’ post saying, “Change for the greater good has to start somewhere, whether it’s changing the turtlenecks or questioning a perceived injustice.” Kocis continued, “I don’t think we should be undermining anyone’s attempt at change.”