Defense Department Schools Release Gender-Neutral Dress Code

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Alyssa Blakemore Contributor
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The Department of Defense rolled out a new dress code for students in military grade schools, replacing gender-specific language with gender-neutral guidelines for the 2023-2024 school year.

Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) officials designed the new gender-neutral rules to establish “a positive, equitable approach to handling dress code infractions” through the use of “teachable moments,” the DoDEA website states.

Absent from the new policy is any requirement to measure the length of skirts or shorts in inches or the “fingertip rule,” Stars and Stripes reported. The new dress code also does away with varying standards among schools at different bases, some of which restricted spaghetti straps, halter tops, baggy pants, and overly tight clothing, the outlet noted. (RELATED: Elise Stefanik Pushes ‘Parent’s Bill Of Rights’ For Service Members Dealing With Woke Education Abroad)

The new gender-neutral dress code now calls for shirts with sleeves and solid clothing which offer full coverage of top and bottom, from armpit to mid-thigh, according to the DoDEA’s website.

Zack, (Last name withheld at request of military), 10, and fellow classmates paint pictures for their parents who are deployed in Iraq April 9, 2003 at Mary Fay Pendleton Elementary School on Camp Pendleton in California. Students were particpating in an “Expression Session” class that helps them show their feelings about the war and their parents who are serving there. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

Updated guidance prohibits students from wearing clothing bearing violence-promoting images, profanity and words or imagery that discriminate against race/color, ethnicity/national origin, sex/gender, sexual orientation, disability and religion, according to the updated guidelines.

“The goal, from the outset, was to create a dress code that is equitable, nonbiased and supports the learning environment while allowing individual expression,” DoDEA spokesperson Will Griffin told Stars and Stripes. The changes also allow a mobile student population to more easily conform to a uniform dress code in all military schools, Griffin emphasized in

Revisions to the policy first began in fall of 2021, alongside a civil rights steering committee and diversity, equity and inclusion specialists, Stars and Stripes reported. The DoD’s education policy division also incorporated some 460 responses from students, parents and school administrators, according to the outlet.