The Lightning Letter

The Student News Site of James Lawson High School


The Lightning Letter

The Lightning Letter

Schools Should Not Control Students’ Self-Expression

The controversial topic that has plagued schools for decades.

The idea of school dress codes has been around since the beginning of education. From only boys uniforms in the 1890s to dress codes at James Lawson in 2024. The main controversy regarding the dress code is that many people have different ideas of what is appropriate for school. It has been an ongoing discussion on whether schools should have identical uniforms, strict dress codes, and an open system giving freedom to the students. 

In most students’ opinion, schools should not have stringent clothing rules since much self-expression is brought out in clothing. People feel more confident wearing clothes that make them happy and safe than clothes that do not. This does not mean schools should not have dress codes at all. Some things, such as hate speech and nudity, should be banned along with articles of clothing that expose private parts. 

 “Young girls who have completely normal anatomy should not be told and pushed around to do something for the opposite gender,” Junior Lilly Peshlic said. Genitals should be the only thing on the body considered sexual or inappropriate. Things such as shoulders, legs, and bellies should not be banned. Never in my life have I seen anyone be distracted by shoulders.

“I believe there is absolutely nothing inherently sexual about shoulders and bellies,” junior Jack Ferrier said. This idea comes directly from a teen boy–the same type of boy that schools make women hide their bodies for.

It is also essential to look into the legal fact on his topic, which can be thought out by looking at the first amendment… In the Constitution, the First Amendment is written as such, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” 

The idea that as a citizen we are entitled to our rights to express yourself. During Tinker v. des Moines, Mr. Justice Fortas delivers the opinion of the court. He states that, “First Amendment rights, applied in the right of the special characteristics of the school environment, are available to teachers and students. It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional flights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.”

To put it simply, even the Supreme Court agrees that school does not have the right to take away people’s rights of expression just because they happen to be students. 

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About the Contributor
Lennon Freitas
Lennon Freitas, Staff Writer
Lennon Freitas is a junior at JLHS. After moving to Nashville from California and transferring out of homeschooling, Lennon is in his third year of public school. He writes on current world events and activism in America. Freitas is very active in the James Lawson theater company and is currently the co-president of the International Thespian Society. He also is a proud NHS member. Freitas enjoys Spider-Man, Paul Dano, and Dr Pepper.
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