Posted on November 1, 2022

School Dress Codes May Be ‘Less Equitable’ for Black, Female and LGBT Students, Federal Report Claims

Alec Schemmel, TND, October 27, 2022

A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released this month advised the U.S. Secretary of Education to provide resources to assist schools across the country with “potential disparities and disproportionality in dress code enforcement.”

The report argued some dress codes may “create a less equitable and safe environment” for girls, Black students and LGBTQ students.

While school districts often cite safety as the reason for having a dress code, many dress codes include elements that may make the school environment less equitable and safe for students,” the GAO report reads.


The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) has not released any guidance or information on dress codes, according to the report, which urges the DOE to do so in order to meet “the agency’s goal to enhance equity and safety in schools.”

Schools that report enforcing strict dress codes predominantly enroll Black and Hispanic students and are more likely to remove students from class,” the report notes. “GAO’s analysis of national data found that more than four in five predominantly Black schools and nearly two-thirds of predominantly Hispanic schools enforce a strict dress code, compared to about one-third of predominantly White schools.”