To the Deerfield Scroll Editors,
The front-page faculty opinion piece on “Moving Toward an All-Gender Dress Code” in the April 19, 2018 issue has produced a groundswell of parent reactions.
The ongoing dress code discussion raises complicated issues and touches on strong personal beliefs for many students, faculty, parents and alumni. For the most part, the community’s conversation has been marked by open, civil discourse. Given the productive conversations to date, many of us were particularly disturbed to read the front-page opinion suggesting that the Deerfield dress code supports a “rape culture” on campus and that DA’s gendered dress code leads to an environment where “harassment and violence are inevitable.” These assertions are truly alarming and make us wonder if this is really the case at Deerfield – we don’t think it is!
Most parents believe that the academic dress code encourages neat attire that leads to engaged, serious, respectful students and classrooms – positive traits that factored into choosing Deerfield. Beyond the campus environment, it also prepares students to dress professionally for many sectors of the working world. While there may be issues with the current rules, the purpose of the tradition is clear. We encourage the ongoing, constructive community conversation as the Board works toward an updated dress code that respects tradition while offering appropriate personal expression, clarity and simplicity for all students.
On a more general note, we recognize that the primary audience of the Deerfield Scroll is on-campus, but the response to this article reminded us that many parents (current, past and future), alumni and others are also avid readers. You and your team serve an important role in connecting and informing the extended school community. Thank you!
Deerfield Parents Network