Q&A With Assistant Principal Joe Voelker


The Bagpiper: What is the exact dress code?

Joe Voelker: “I think we’re pretty much a jeans-and-t-shirt type of school. Dress needs to not be a distraction. That’s really what it is; it needs to not be a distraction to others, which is very loosely defined, kind of intentionally. But, basically your clothes need to fit and fit properly. Even if they don’t, we need to see how we can help you with that to make your clothes fit. Your shirt should be down to your belt. We don’t make kids tuck them in, but they should be down to the belt. You shouldn’t have a crop top, or something like that. As far as straps go, it needs to cover you up on top. That’s sort of where it is. Dr. Willman, Mrs. Johnson, Mr. Cerqueira, and [I], we don’t really go around hunting down a lot of dress code things. We do have [problems] that we see, or they come to us, and that we deal with.”

BP: How would you define “muscle shirts” and “bro tanks?” 

JV: “Just, boys shouldn’t be wearing a tank top.”

BP: Why are boys not allowed to wear tank tops when girls are?

JV: “Well, the mentality is, in a workplace, a female can get by with a sleeveless type of dress or top. Generally, you don’t go into an office and see guys with a bro tank on, so, that’s the mentality behind that. If you go work in an office, you don’t see guys with a tank top on. But, you may see women with a sleeveless thing on, and that’s where that came from.”

BP: In such a big school, it can be hard to get to everyone who is breaking the dress code, and as you said, you don’t go around looking for it. How do administrators handle the entire school population without it seeming like they’re picking and choosing?

JV: “Generally, if it’s brought to my attention—sometimes I do see it in the hallway, and if I do, I address it. Sometimes a teacher will email either me or a counselor or Mrs. Shaffer.”

BP: Is there anything else that readers need to know about the dress code?

JV: “I think if you have a question about something, just come talk to us. Styles right now are a little better than they were ten years ago. The issue with styles right now are the crop tops on girls, they don’t [go all the way down] and cover the belt. That’s something to cover up. But, we used to have styles where shorts were very, very short for both boys and girls. Now guys got into the longer shorts, now they’re kind of going back up again. For a period, guys always had shorts to their knees, and now they’ve kind of gone up a little bit. About ten years ago, [there was] that, and in-style tops were very, very tight fitting and could lead to being inappropriate. Right now, styles, people don’t wear that kind of thing.”

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