Photos courtesy of Alondra Zubiate (top left), Michelle Xu (top middle), Ashley Macias (top right), Laurie Trinh (bottom left), and Hillary Tieu (bottom middle). Caption: Luong passes out these pins whenever she gets the chance to, whether it is during class, passing periods, or lunchtime. She collects everyone’s pictures with the pins in a video to keep as a memory.

Luong organizes movement against school dress code

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I’m comfortable with my body, my school isn’t

After hearing her friends getting stopped by security for their outfits on an extremely hot day, senior Phuong Luong was disappointed with the school’s dress code. Luong thought about what she could do about the dress code day and night, finally deciding to organize a small protest by creating pins and passing them out to about 50 students. The protest was necessary to convey Luong’s feelings about the current dress code and aided in inciting a movement that many girls have longed for.

“I came home and ambitiously cut index cards in half, writing the words, ‘I’m comfortable with my body, my school isn’t,’” Luong said. “This really opened up my eyes on how the school system would rather have students get a heat stroke than to let them wear a tank top in nearly 100-degree heat.”

Luong acknowledges there are aspects of the dress code that she agrees with, such as not wearing only a swimsuit to school. She believes that because of mask regulations, many students use their unique outfits to reveal their personalities, so restricting them angers her.

“After not being in school for almost a year, it definitely feels weird to not be able to wear whatever one wants,” Luong said. “We should be allowed to wear a tank top without people telling us that it’ll distract others when in reality, it does not. Girls who want to express themselves rely on their outfits to show who they are, but are being shut down and told to ‘put on a jacket.’”

Her protest is not only exclusive to girls. Boys joining in the movement would help to further diversify it. Luong encourages more boys to participate because their voices are just as important. She knows that the boys have plenty of freedom with the way they dress, thus  if they aid girls in speaking up about the dress code, the girls would also feel supported and heard.

“This protest helped me build a community,” Luong said. “A community of girls who believe in the same issue I do even if I’ve never spoken to them. I know this can help so many girls that want to express themselves, and not just girls, but boys too. This movement will not and cannot work unless everyone speaks up.”

Additionally, she has been sharing the movement on TikTok so that students from other schools can also be inspired to have a dress code protest. Phuong hopes the movement will reach more students throughout the school. She wants to show the administration and teachers that there is nothing distracting about the human body.  

“I hope that this movement is so inspiring that kids in the future will hear about it and teach their kids to love their bodies,” Luong said. “The shoulder and stomach are normal body parts that don’t need to be hidden. If you are offended at what I’m saying, you are the problem.”

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